DS601: China — Anti-Dumping Measures on Stainless Steel Products from Japan
Japan submitted its second request for the establishment of a WTO panel to rule on anti-dumping measures imposed by China on stainless steel products from Japan. Japan's first request for a panel was blocked by China on 30 August. Japan reiterated its belief that China's measures are inconsistent with its obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and the WTO's Anti-dumping Agreement (ADA).
China said it regretted Japan's decision to submit its second request. It said it maintains its domestic anti-dumping regime in line with relevant WTO rules, with authorities carrying out transparent, thorough and fair investigations. China said it was open to further discussions with Japan in order to resolve the matter.
The DSB agreed to the establishment of the panel. Brazil, Canada, Australia, Korea, the United States, Russia, Viet Nam, the European Union, Saudi Arabia and India reserved their third party rights to participate in the proceedings.
DS599: Panama — Measures Concerning the Importation of Certain Products from Costa Rica
Costa Rica submitted its second request for the establishment of a WTO panel to rule on measures imposed by Panama on various imports originating from Costa Rica, including dairy products, meat products, fish food, strawberries, pineapple, plantains and bananas. Costa Rica's first request was blocked by Panama at the DSB meeting on 30 August.
Costa Rica reiterated that it has long and prosperous trade relations with its neighbour. Panama's decision to ban certain Costa Rican imports over the last two years lacks scientific basis, particularly as there has been no change in the phytosanitary status or risk status of the products in question which would justify Panama's non-renewal of authorization for the imports, it said.
Panama said the dispute is the result of authorities in Costa Rica failing to initiate authorization and permit renewal proceedings which would allow continued import of the products and which Panama has the right to request. Panama regrets Costa Rica's decision to pursue its WTO complaint but is ready to participate in dispute proceedings in good faith.
The DSB agreed to the establishment of the panel. Brazil, Canada, China, Australia, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, the EU, India, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico reserved their third party rights to participate in the proceedings.
DS602: China — Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duty Measures on Wine from Australia
Australia submitted its first request for the establishment of a panel to rule on China's anti-dumping duties on imported Australian wine. Australia claims the measures are inconsistent with various provisions under the WTO's Anti-dumping Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994.
Australia noted that China was previously Australia's most important export market for wine, accounting for 37% of total sales, but since the duties were imposed sales have declined significantly and have effectively closed the Chinese market to Australian wine. Australia has engaged with China on the matter numerous times, both bilaterally and at the WTO, but these efforts, along with dispute consultations held on 9 August, have failed to resolve the matter. As no concrete steps have been taken to address its concerns, Australia said it was requesting the establishment of a panel. Australia values its community and economic ties with China and remains open to discuss the matter with China in good faith in order to find a solution.
China said it was not in a position to agree to Australia's request. China maintains its domestic anti-dumping regime in line with relevant WTO rules and, especially in this dispute, carried out its investigation in a fair and transparent manner. To avoid “double remedy,” China decided not to impose countervailing duties on the imports. China noted that Australia has not raised the matter of countervailing duties in its panel request, which China said was a constructive move for the settlement of the dispute. China believes it is still premature to establish a panel in this dispute and stands ready to further engage with Australia on the matter.
The DSB took note of the statements and agreed to revert to the matter if requested by a member.
Statement by Morocco regarding the panel report in the dispute “Morocco — Definitive Anti-Dumping Measures on School Exercise Books from Tunisia” (DS578)
Morocco made a statement noting that it has commenced discussions with Tunisia in order to resolve their differences over procedural implications stemming from Morocco's appeal of the panel report in the DS578 dispute proceedings. Bilateral consultations at the technical level took place on 24 September, and Morocco is hopeful the talks will lead to a friendly solution of the matter.
Tunisia said it was pleased Morocco has agreed to engage in these consultations and proposed that the parties provide members with a status report on the consultations at the next DSB meeting.
The European Union intervened to say this case was another example showing the grave consequences stemming from the continued blockage of new Appellate Body members, which is frustrating the essential rights of all WTO members. Russia added the continued blockage threatens the system and undermines confidence in the WTO. Canada renewed its invitation to Morocco and Tunisia to consider becoming party to the multi-party interim appeal arrangement as an alternative means to completing the appeals proceedings.
Statement by China regarding the panel report in the dispute “US — safeguard measure on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic products” (DS562)
China sharply criticized the dispute panel ruling in DS562, which was circulated on 2 September and which China appealed on 16 September. China said it is deeply concerned with the systematically harmful findings made by the panel, the first time that a complainant's case against a safeguard measure has been rejected in its entirety. The panel report severely deviated from all these jurisprudences and substantially lowered the threshold of imposing safeguard measures, China said. It added that the dangerous signal sent by the panel will lead to the abuse of safeguard measures and thus seriously undermine the rules-based multilateral trading system.
China went on to detail what it said were the serious legal errors contained in the ruling, including a gross misreading of legal requirements for imposing safeguard matters as well as a major misunderstanding of a panel's proper role in examining trade remedy investigations. China said safeguards are extraordinary measures for extraordinary situations and cannot be used as a convenient tool for rescuing a domestic industry in bad shape because of its own business decisions and injuries caused by other factors.
The United States said China should focus on what matters. First, it matters that the WTO panel found the US safeguard to be consistent with WTO rules. The US welcomes those findings but said the win came at a very high cost, namely the crushing of a thriving US industry by China’s massive non-market excess capacity. This dispute demonstrates that WTO rules do not effectively constrain China’s damaging non-market behaviour. Second, it matters that China once again sought to use the WTO dispute settlement system as a vehicle to create new rules that would limit a member’s ability to defend itself from China’s non-market practices. The panel rightly rejected every single one of China’s arguments.
The US said it was disappointed that China has decided to appeal the panel report despite overwhelming evidence of the damaging effects of China’s non-market practices. The safeguard measure serves to support the US domestic industry’s efforts to adjust to import competition after global excess solar cell and module capacity pushed the industry to the brink of extinction, mainly as a result of excess capacity fueled by China’s non-market practices which are in direct contradiction to its WTO commitments.
China responded that its appeal was not intended to delay the adoption of the dispute report or create new rules but to ensure the interpretation of the WTO rules in a fair and reasonable manner and ensure respect for past jurisprudence.
The EU said the case was yet another example of the grave consequences stemming from the continued blockage of Appellate Body appointments since 2017, which frustrates members' ability to exercise their rights under WTO dispute settlement procedures. Canada added that finding a solution to the Appellate Body impasse is of the highest importance.
United States — Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (CDSOA): statement by the European Union
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. The United States said it has taken all actions necessary to implement the ruling and that, once a member has said it has complied with a ruling, that member should no longer be required to submit status reports on implementation.
European Communities and Certain Member States — Measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft: Implementation of the recommendations adopted by the DSB: statement by the United States
The United States said it placed this item on the agenda of the DSB meeting to highlight that the EU has once again not provided WTO members with a status report concerning implementation of the findings in the large civil aircraft dispute. The EU said it is not required to submit an implementation status report to the DSB, as dispute proceedings on the matter are ongoing.
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 which is seriously affecting the overall WTO dispute settlement system against the best interest of members, Mexico said for the group.
More than 20 delegations 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. They pledged their support to continue efforts to find a solution acceptable to all.
The United States reiterated it was not in a position to support the proposed decision. The US continues to have systemic concerns with the Appellate Body, which it has explained and raised over the past 16 years and across multiple administrations. The US said it believes that WTO members must undertake fundamental reform if the dispute settlement system is to remain viable and credible. The US said it looked forward to further discussions with members on those concerns and to constructive engagement with members at the appropriate time.
For the 121 members, Mexico again came back to say that the fact a member may have concerns about certain aspects of the functioning of the Appellate Body cannot serve as pretext to impair and disrupt the work of the DSB and the dispute settlement in general. It said that there was no legal justification for the current blocking of the selection processes, which is causing concrete nullification and impairment of rights for many members.
The chair of the DSB, Ambassador Didier Chambovey of Switzerland, again emphasized that resolving the impasse is of great interest to all WTO members and a matter which also requires political engagement by all members. He noted that the chair of the General Council briefly reported on his consultations regarding this issue at its last meeting as part of his preparatory work for the WTO's upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference later this year. He said his door remains open to any delegation wishing to discuss the matter.
20th anniversary of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law
Guatemala and Australia made statements commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL), which was established in 2001 to assist developing and least-developed countries on all issues relating to WTO law. Further information on the anniversary is available here.
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.”
China made a statement regarding the composition of WTO dispute panels and the importance of appointing high-quality, independent and neutral panelists.
Next DSB meeting
The next DSB meeting will take place on 26 October 2021.