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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DS616: European Union — Countervailing and Anti-Dumping Duties on Stainless Steel Cold-Rolled Flat Products from Indonesia
Indonesia submitted its second request for a WTO dispute panel to review countervailing and anti-dumping measures imposed by the European Union on imports of stainless steel cold-rolled flat products from Indonesia. Indonesia's first request was made at a DSB meeting on 28 April but the EU said at the time it was not ready to accept the establishment of a panel. Indonesia said it is entitled to protect its national interest and urged the EU to bring its measures into conformity with WTO provisions.
The European Union said it regretted Indonesia's decision to submit its second request for a panel and that it is confident its measures will be found to be in line with WTO law.
The DSB agreed to the establishment of a panel. India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Türkiye, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Ukraine, Singapore, Thailand, the Russian Federation and China reserved their rights to participate in the panel proceedings.
DS584: India — Tariff Treatment on Certain Goods
Japan expressed its disappointment at India’s decision to appeal the panel report in DS584 to the currently non-functioning Appellate Body and to send the case “into the void”. Japan said this decision was taken despite the clear and reasoned assessment by the panel, which found that India’s customs duties on certain products in the information and communications technology sector were in excess of its bound rates and inconsistent with India's WTO commitments.
The only consequence of India's action is to delay the implementation of the panel's findings, which is contrary to the bedrock principle in the WTO's Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) of prompt settlement of disputes, Japan said.
India said that in its notification of appeal it made detailed arguments on the errors of law and legal interpretations by the panel in its report. India hopes that the early restoration of the Appellate Body will soon enable the review and correction of these errors and the expeditious resolution of this dispute. India reiterated its willingness to engage in bilateral discussions with Japan on a mutually acceptable way forward.
Several members welcomed the panel's findings in the report while others said the case was another example of the negative impact of the blockage of Appellate Body appointments on the rights of WTO members, with 31 panel reports now having been appealed “into the void.”
DS588: India — Tariff Treatment on Certain Goods in the Information and Communications Technology Sector
The DSB agreed to a request from Chinese Taipei and India for additional time for the DSB to consider the adoption of the panel ruling in DS588, which was circulated to WTO members on 17 April. Under the request, the DSB will now have until 19 September to adopt the panel report unless either Chinese Taipei or India appeal the panel's findings or the DSB decides by consensus not to adopt the panel ruling. Chinese Taipei and India said the additional time would help facilitate the resolution of the dispute.
DS583: Turkey — Certain Measures concerning the Production, Importation and Marketing of Pharmaceutical Products
Referring to Türkiye's communication to the DSB dated 28 April in which it said that appropriate steps have been taken to implement the findings in DS583 and these actions bring it into compliance with the arbitration award in the dispute, the European Union said it did not agree with Türkiye's assertion.
The EU has concerns both with regard to the nature of the measures taken and with regard to their substance, including the fact that two measures mentioned by Türkiye are still draft measures. Other measures mentioned have not been made public and have not even been shared with the EU. The EU said it will continue monitoring the situation and urged Türkiye to ensure full compliance, adding that it reserves its right to take further steps under the DSU.
Türkiye said it has taken many important steps to implement the arbitrator's findings, including through the publication of its new Alternative Drug Reimbursement Regulation. These actions were taken despite extraordinary circumstances, including the major earthquake which struck the country in February. The actions taken clearly indicate Türkiye's willingness and seriousness in bringing its policies in compliance with the arbitration award, Türkiye added.
Discussions concerning dispute settlement reform
Marco Molina, Deputy Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the WTO, reported to members in his personal capacity on the informal meetings he was asked to convene by a group of WTO members on the issue of dispute settlement reform. The objective is to fulfil the June 2022 ministerial mandate of having a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all members by 2024.
Since Mr Molina last reported to the DSB on 31 March, delegates have met under an intense programme of meetings and held substance-based and highly technical discussions with a view to finding practical solutions to the concerns and interests identified by members, he said.
During April and May, he convened a total of 57 meetings. The methodology set in motion for this informal process, in combination with the delegates’ efforts and engagement, are starting to produce results, Mr Molina said. The 70 initial proposals members put forward and which were catalogued in a “red table” have now been moved to “yellow tables” containing more refined and elaborated proposed solutions for the issues identified.
Members are starting to identify practical solutions that could be good candidates to include in forthcoming “green tables”, which will be the basis for the drafting exercise that will take place after the WTO's summer break, he said. However, members cannot be complacent and will need to keep up the pace, with the intensive work programme continuing in June and July, he added.
Mr Molina concluded by saying he was confident members have the necessary ingredients to deliver an outcome that is satisfactory to all. It will not be easy, but he said he was confident that with the right approach, members can deliver.
Twenty-four members took the floor to comment. Some members said they had concerns with the pace and frequency of the discussions and that the process needed to be more transparent and inclusive. Others welcomed what they said was a transparent and inclusive process as well as the active participation of many members in the discussions.
Appellate Body appointments
Guatemala, speaking on behalf of 129 members, introduced for the 66th time the group's proposal to start the selection processes for filling vacancies on the Appellate Body. Guatemala noted that Myanmar had now joined the group of co-sponsors. 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, Guatemala said for the group.
The United States repeated that it does not support the proposed decision to commence the appointment of Appellate Body members as its longstanding concerns with WTO dispute settlement remain unaddressed. Fundamental reform is needed to ensure a well-functioning WTO dispute settlement system which supports WTO members in the resolution of their disputes in an efficient and transparent manner, the United States said. This would limit the needless complexity and interpretive overreach that has characterized dispute settlement in recent years, the US said, adding that it is committed to working towards an improved system.
Twenty-six delegations took the floor in support of the proposal. They reiterated the importance of the WTO's two-tiered dispute settlement system to the stability and predictability of the multilateral trading system and the need to resolve the deadlock, which was a top priority for reform of the WTO. A number of delegations noted the commitment made by ministers at the 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022 to engage in discussions aimed at securing a fully functioning dispute settlement system by 2024 and pledged their support for securing an outcome within the prescribed deadline.
Eight members made reference to the multi-party interim appeal arrangement (MPIA) as a temporary alternative means available to securing an appeals review while the Appellate Body remains non-functioning.
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.”
The next regular DSB meeting will take place on 30 June.