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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DS598 China — Anti-dumping and countervailing duty measures on barley from Australia

Australia submitted its first request for a panel to determine whether China's decision to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of barley from Australia is consistent with WTO rules.

Australia said China's May 2020 decision to impose anti-dumping duties of 73.6% and countervailing duties of 6.9% has effectively closed the Chinese market for Australian barley, which previously accounted for half of Australia's total feed barley exports and 86% of its total malting barley exports.  As no concrete steps have been taken by China to respond to Australia's concerns, Australia said it was now requesting a panel to examine the measures.  Australia said it valued its strong economic and community ties with China and remained open to further discussions with China on the matter.

China said it was not in a position to support Australia's request.  Chinese authorities conducted their investigation in a fair, thorough, and transparent manner and found trade distortions arising from Australia's actions which caused material injury to its domestic industry.  China engaged in good faith talks with Australia both during and after the WTO consultations and both sides agreed the talks were constructive.  Given this, China said Australia's request for a panel was premature and that it was willing to continue its engagement with Australia.

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

DS600 European Union and certain Member states — Certain measures concerning palm oil and oil palm crop-based biofuels

Malaysia submitted a first request for a panel to examine certain measures imposed by the EU and EU member states — France and Lithuania — concerning palm oil and oil palm crop-based biofuels from Malaysia.

Malaysia contends that the measures in question, adopted as part of the EU's policy of promoting the use of biofuels, unfairly benefit EU domestic producers of certain biofuel feedstocks by limiting the amount of palm oil that may be counted towards reaching EU renewable energy targets and, consequently, the palm oil that will be sold in the EU market. Malaysia noted that consultations on the matter were held with the EU on 17 March but failed to resolve differences between the two sides, prompting Malaysia's request for a panel.

The European Union said the consultations with Malaysia on 17 March were constructive, and that it  had expressed hope the talks had provided the necessary information and clarification. The EU said it firmly believes the measures at issue are fully justified and is confident that it will prevail in this dispute. The EU said it was not ready to accept the establishment of a panel.

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

DS234 United States — Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (CDSOA)

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. It said it would continue putting this point on the agenda as long as the US has not fully implemented the ruling.

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.  The US said the EU was not asking other WTO members to submit status reports in other disputes where members have said they achieved compliance with the rulings in question.

The EU countered that those cases were different from the CDSOA dispute, where the US was continuing to make disbursements of duties collected to US firms and where the WTO has authorized the EU and other members to impose retaliatory measures against the US for its non-compliance.

Canada thanked the EU for putting the item on the DSB agenda.

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 an implementation status report to the DSB concerning dispute DS316, the US complaint against government subsidies for the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

The EU countered that no status report was required since the dispute proceedings were not concluded.  The EU reiterated that it was determined to find a long term solution to the WTO aircraft subsidy disputes and that it welcomed the fact that both parties have now reached an understanding to suspend their respective retaliation for four months in order to permit further discussions.

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 with 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.  Many of the delegations described a two-tier dispute settlement system, with a panel and appeals stage, as a core part of the multilateral trading system.

The United States said 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 for more than 16 years and across multiple administrations.  The US said it looked forward to further discussions with members on those concerns.

Other business

Indonesia expressed its appreciation to Australia for its efforts to implement the WTO ruling in DS529 “Australia — Anti-Dumping Measures on A4 Copy Paper.”  Indonesia said it understands Australia's minister has affirmed an earlier decision to revoke the duty order.  Australia confirmed that the minister affirmed the revocation of the measures on 16 February following completion of an administrative review process, and that it trusts the matter is now resolved.

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.” 

New DSB chair

Before the close of the meeting members elected Swiss Ambassador Didier Chambovey as chair of the DSB for the upcoming year.  Many members thanked the outgoing chair, Ambassador Dacio Castillo of Honduras, for his service over the past year.

Next DSB meeting

The next DSB meeting will take place on 28 May 2021.

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