DS: Chile — Measures affecting the Transit and Importing of Swordfish

This summary has been prepared by the Secretariat under its own responsibility. The summary is for general information only and is not intended to affect the rights and obligations of Members.


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Summary of the dispute to date

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Complaint by the European Communities.

On 19 April 2000, the EC requested consultations with Chile regarding the prohibition on unloading of swordfish in Chilean ports established on the basis of Article 165 of the Chilean Fishery Law (Ley General de Pesca y Acuicultura), as consolidated by the Supreme Decree 430 of 28 September 1991, and extended by Decree 598 of 15 October 1999.

The EC asserted that its fishing vessels operating in the South East Pacific are not allowed under Chilean legislation to unload their swordfish in Chilean ports either to land them for warehousing or to trans-ship them onto other vessels. The EC considered that, as a result, Chile makes transit through its ports impossible for swordfish. The EC claimed that the above-mentioned measures are inconsistent with the GATT 1994, and in particular Articles V and XI thereof.


Panel and Appellate Body proceedings

At its meeting of 12 December 2000, the DSB established a panel further to the request of the EC. Australia, Canada, Ecuador, India, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland and the US reserved their third-party rights. On 23 March and 28 March 2001, the European Communities and Chile respectively informed the Director-General and the Chairman of the DSB that they had come to a provisional arrangement concerning this dispute and accordingly had agreed to suspend the process for the constitution of the panel.

On 12 November 2003, the parties to the dispute informed the Chairman of the DSB that they agreed to maintain the suspension of the process for the constitution of the panel. On 21 December 2005, the parties to the dispute informed the DSB that they maintain the suspension of the process for the constitution of the panel. On 13 December 2007, the European Communities informed the DSB that the European Communities and Chile had proceeded to a joint evaluation of the Arrangement of 25 January 2001 and had concurred that the implementation has been developing in a positive manner. Accordingly, they maintained the suspension of the process for the constitution of the panel.



On 28 May 2010, the European Union and Chile informed the DSB that ITLOS, in the case concerning the conservation and sustainable exploitation of swordfish stocks in the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean (Chile/European Union), by Order dated 16 December 2009, placed on record, pursuant to Article 105.2 of the Rules of the Tribunal, the discontinuance, by agreement of the parties, of the proceedings initiated on 20 December 2000 by Chile and the European Community, and ordered that the case be removed from the list of cases. 

The European Union and Chile also informed the DSB that, pursuant to Article 3.6 of the DSU, they intend to notify to the DSB any mutually agreed solution to the matters raised under the consultation and dispute settlement provisions of the covered agreements once any such mutually agreed solution has been ratified in accordance with their respective domestic law requirements. 

In addition, Chile and the European Union notified the DSB that they had unconditionally agreed that neither party shall further exercise any procedural right accruing to it under the DSU.


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