DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

Note

This summary has been prepared by the WTO Secretariat’s Information and External Relations Division to help public understanding about developments in WTO disputes. It is not a legal interpretation of the issues, and it is not intended as a complete account of the issues. These can be found in the reports themselves and in the minutes of the Dispute Settlement Body’s meetings.

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DS592: Indonesia — Measures Relating to Raw Materials

The European Union submitted its first request for a panel to rule on Indonesia's measures relating to raw materials, which include Indonesia's export prohibition on nickel ore and domestic processing requirements on minerals, in particular nickel ore and iron ore. The EU asked for WTO dispute consultations with Indonesia on the matter on 22 November 2019, with the talks taking place on 30 January 2020.  The consultations failed to settle the dispute, prompting the EU's request for a panel.

The EU said the measures were part of a policy put into place by Indonesia designed to boost its industrial capacities for the intermediate stages of stainless steel production and increase steel exports.  This has already resulted in Indonesia increasing its stainless steel capacity from zero in 2015 to 6 million metric tonnes by 2020, while EU capacity in the sector has fallen from 9.5 million tonnes to 8.4 million tonnes in a very short period of time.  The measures in question are in clear violation of Indonesia's WTO obligations, the EU said, specifically the prohibition restricting the export of products to other WTO members. 

Indonesia said that it provided comprehensive responses and engaged constructively with the EU in the consultation process and described the EU request as premature.  As a result, Indonesia said it could not agree to the EU's request.  Indonesia said it was ready to engage further with the EU on the matter. 

The DSB agreed to revert to the matter if requested by a member.

DS597: United States — Origin Marking Requirement

Hong Kong, China submitted its first request for the establishment of a dispute panel regarding a new US origin marking requirement for goods produced in Hong Kong, China.  Consultations were held with the United States on 24 November 2020 with a view to reaching a mutually satisfactory solution, Hong Kong, China said, but the talks failed to resolve the dispute.

Hong Kong, China said it strongly objects to the new requirement, which requires goods originating from Hong Kong, China to be marked as products of “China”, as arbitrary, unilateral, unnecessary, and unjustifiable. The revised requirement disregards the fact that Hong Kong, China is a separate customs territory and a member of the WTO in its own right, it said.  The US measure also imposes unnecessary burdens upon business enterprises in Hong Kong, China, causes confusion to consumers, and undermines the investments that business enterprises have made in developing the “Hong Kong” brand. The application of rules of origin should in no circumstances be deployed as a means for attaining political ends, Hong Kong, China added.

The United States said it was not in a position to support the panel request.  As WTO members know, a new US president was inaugurated on 20 January, and the US is currently transitioning to a new administration, it said.

The DSB agreed to revert to the matter if requested by a member.

DS234: United States — Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000

The European Union reiterated its request that the United States cease transferring anti-dumping and countervailing duties to the US domestic industry, arguing that every such disbursement was a clear act of non-compliance with the rulings on this matter. Canada supported the EU statement, while the United States said it has taken all actions necessary to implement the ruling.

DS316: European Communities and Certain Member States — Measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft: Implementation of the recommendations adopted by the DSB

The United States said that once again the European Union has failed to provide a status report to the DSB concerning dispute DS316, the US complaint against government subsidies for the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The European Union repeated that the matter is subject to new compliance proceedings that are still ongoing and thus there was no obligation on the EU to submit a status report.

Appellate Body appointments

Mexico, speaking on behalf of 121 members, once again introduced the group's proposal to start the selection processes for filling vacancies on the Appellate Body.  The extensive number of members submitting the proposal reflects a common concern over the current situation in the Appellate Body that is seriously affecting the overall WTO dispute settlement system against the best interest of members, Mexico said for the group.

Nearly 20 members took the floor to reiterate the importance of resolving the impasse over the appointment of new members as soon as possible and re-establishing a functioning Appellate Body. 

The United States said it was not in a position to support the proposed decision.  As WTO members know, a new US president was inaugurated on 20 January, and the US is currently transitioning to a new administration, it said.

Surveillance of implementation

The United States presented status reports with regard to DS184, “US — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Products from Japan”,  DS160, “United States — Section 110(5) of US Copyright Act”, DS464, “United States — Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Measures on Large Residential Washers from Korea”, and DS471, “United States — Certain Methodologies and their Application to Anti-Dumping Proceedings Involving China”.

The European Union presented a status report with regard to DS291, “EC — Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products”.

Indonesia presented its status reports in DS477 and DS478, “Indonesia — Importation of Horticultural Products, Animals and Animal Products”. 

Other business

Japan said it was highly disappointed with Korea's decision on 22 January to appeal the panel findings in DS553, “Korea — Sunset Review of Anti-Dumping Duties on Stainless Steel Bars”.  Because there are no Appellate Body members to hear the appeal, the move essentially sends the dispute “into the void”. Japan said it considers Korea's decision an attempt to delay implementation of the ruling despite the sound findings of the panel, and called on Korea to remove the duties, which have now been in place more than 15 years.

Korea responded that it was obliged to file an appeal due to the serious errors made by the panel; the appeal is based on valid and legitimate concerns and not an attempt to delay the proceedings.  Korea also said that it had offered Japan multiple alternative options to resolve the dispute, including resort to WTO arbitration proceedings, but that Japan turned them down.

Indonesia asked Australia about the status of an Australian review panel's examination of an earlier decision to revoke the duty order at issue in DS529 “Australia — Anti-Dumping Measures on A4 Copy Paper”.  Australia said that the duties had been removed and that, unless there is a ministerial decision reversing this, Australia considers that it has complied with the WTO's findings in the matter.

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