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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DS603 Australia — Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duty Measures on Certain Products from China
China submitted its first request for the establishment of a WTO dispute panel to examine Australia's decision to impose anti-dumping duties on imports of wind towers, stainless steel sinks and certain railway wheels from China as well as countervailing measures on imports of stainless steel sinks from China.
China said it held consultations with Australia on 11 August 2021 but that these consultations failed to resolve the dispute, prompting its request for the panel. China highlighted what it said were inconsistencies with the Australian measures at issue with regards to various provisions of the WTO's Anti-Dumping Agreement and Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM).
Australia said it was disappointed with China's request. The measures were imposed after investigations by Australia's anti-dumping commission determined that the products are being dumped and, in the case of sinks, are being subsidized, with the dumping and subsidization causing material injury to the Australian industry.
Australia said it has engaged in consultations with China in good faith to seek to resolve China's concerns and that it remains ready to resolve this matter through further discussions. Accordingly, Australia does not support China's request to establish a panel.
The DSB took note of the statements and agreed to revert to the matter if requested by a member.
DS577: United States — Anti-dumping and countervailing duties on ripe olives from Spain
The United States reported to members on its intention with regards to implementation of the WTO panel ruling in DS577. The panel ruling was circulated on 19 November and was adopted by the DSB on 20 December.
The US said it informed the DSB by letter on 19 January that it intends to implement the panel's findings in a manner that respects its WTO obligations, and that the US has begun to evaluate options for doing so. The US added that it will need a reasonable period of time to implement, and that it hopes to reach agreement on this with the European Union, which initiated the dispute case against the US duties.
The EU said it welcomes the US statement and that it was ready to discuss a reasonable period of time to implement the findings with the US.
DS217: United States — Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000
DS316: European Communities and Certain Member States — Measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft: Implementation of the recommendations adopted by the DSB
Both the United States and the European Union informed members that recent developments no longer warranted putting these two items on the agenda for future DSB meetings.
The US noted that distribution of collected anti-dumping and countervailing duties under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act — also known as the Byrd Amendment — has dwindled from US$1 billion in October 2008 overall to around US$ 500,000 in October 2021 for goods entering from the EU. The US continues to work towards finalizing any outstanding liquidation instructions and completing the distribution of duties collected on goods that entered the US market before 1 October 2007, when the Byrd Amendment was rescinded. The US said it is engaged with the EU in a spirit of cooperation on this matter.
The EU said that while the dispute over the Byrd Amendment has not yet been resolved, the EU is now satisfied that this should eventually be achieved on the basis of the measures currently in place. Unless there is a material change in circumstances, the EU does not consider it necessary to continue putting this item on the DSB agenda.
In regards to DS316, the United States noted that the US and the EU reached an “Understanding on a cooperative framework for Large Civil Aircraft” suspending the application of retaliatory tariffs in the dispute, agreeing that any support for large civil aircraft producers will be on market terms, and working together to address challenges posed by non-market economies. The US and the EU intend to discuss any concerns related to this bilaterally, and accordingly, the US does not intend to place this item on the agenda of future DSB meetings.
The EU thanked the US for its statement and said it reflected the positive dynamic established between the two sides through last June's Understanding.
Statements by Brazil, Australia and Guatemala regarding the panel reports in the disputes: “India — Measures concerning sugar and sugarcane”(DS579, DS580 and DS581)
Brazil, Australia and Guatemala took the floor to welcome the panel's findings in the joint rulings concerning India's subsidies for sugar cane producers and sugar cane exports. The panel issued its reports in the three disputes on 14 December. India subsequently notified the DSB of its decision to appeal the panel reports in a communication circulated to WTO members on 11 January.
The co-complainants welcomed in particular the key findings that India's minimum price supports to sugar producers count against its spending limit for trade-distorting support and that certain subsidies pertaining to sugar or sugarcane are contingent on export performance and inconsistent with India's WTO obligations. They noted the impact of India's sugar subsidies on world market prices, which have negatively affected producers and exporters in other countries, and said they were disappointed with India's decision to appeal “into the void” the rulings due to the absence of Appellate Body members to hear appeals as well as the inability to reach agreement with India on an alternative appeals review.
India said that it is in full compliance with its WTO obligations and that it believes that the panel has not only committed serious errors of law but has also failed to discharge its functions as required under WTO dispute settlement rules. These disputes are of great importance given that they are designed to address the livelihood concerns of millions of low income and resource poor farmers, India said.
Canada, the European Union and Russia also intervened, saying the appeal “into the void” underlined the urgent need to address reform of the dispute settlement system.
India intervened a second time to say its decision to appeal was based on the gross errors made by the panel, including its failure to consider some of the legal claims raised by India. India also cautioned that the panel's findings on minimum price support for farmers had important implications for programmes in other WTO members set out under government statutory programmes but paid out by private entities.
Appellate Body appointments
Mexico, speaking on behalf of 122 members, introduced for the 50th time 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.
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 dispute settlement system can and should better support the WTO’s negotiating and monitoring functions, the US said, adding that it looked forward to further discussions with members on these important issues.
Around 20 delegations (including EU for its 27 members and Nigeria for the African Group) took the floor to reiterate the importance of the WTO's two-tiered dispute settlement system to the stability and predictability of the multilateral trading system. They emphasized the need to resolve the impasse over the appointment of new members as soon as possible, and to re-establish a functioning Appellate Body. They pledged their support to continue efforts to find a solution acceptable to all.
For the 122 members, Mexico again came back to say 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 dispute settlement in general, and 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.
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.”
DS578: Morocco — Definitive Anti-Dumping Measures on School Exercise Books from Tunisia
Tunisia made a statement noting its ongoing differences with Morocco on the implementation of the WTO panel ruling in DS578. Tunisia said it was pleased to inform members that Morocco put forward a proposal on 22 January for the revision of the duties at issue and that its authorities were currently reviewing what Tunisia said was a constructive basis for continued consultations.
The next DSB meeting will take place on 28 February.