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
The summary below was up-to-date at
Complaint by the United States.
On 12 October 2000, the US requested consultations with the EC concerning the administration by Belgium of laws and regulations establishing the customs duties applicable to rice imported from the United States. The United States considered that:
- Belgium has failed to administer the pertinent laws and
regulations in a manner that is consistent with its WTO obligations,
leading to the assessment of duties on rice imported from the United
States in excess of the bound rate of duty, in contravention of Article II
of the GATT 1194;
- Belgiumís use of reference prices in the calculation of
the applicable import duties would appear to be inconsistent with Article
VII of the GATT 1994 and the Customs Valuation Agreement;
- Belgiumís refusal to recognize widely accepted industry
standards associated with the grading of rice appears to be inconsistent
with Articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers
- Belgium has failed to administer its customs valuation
determinations and its assessment of tariffs in a transparent manner,
thereby impeding trade, and appears to have applied the measures in a
manner that discriminates against rice imported from the United States.
- According to the United States, the measures have
restricted imports of rice into Belgium. Thus, the Belgian measures also
appear to be inconsistent with Articles I, X and XI of the GATT 1994 and
Article 4 of the Agreement on Agriculture.
- According to the United States, Belgiumís measures appear to be inconsistent with the following specific provisions of the identified agreements: Articles I, II, VII, VIII, X and XI of the GATT 1994; Articles 1-6, 7, 10, 14, 16 and Annex I of the Customs Valuation Agreement; Articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade; Article 4 of the Agreement on Agriculture. Belgiumís measures also appear to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to the United States directly or indirectly under the cited agreements.
On 19 January 2001, the US requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 1 February 2001, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.
Panel and Appellate Body proceedings
Further to a second request to establish a panel by the US, the DSB established a panel at its meeting of 12 March 2001. India and Japan reserved their third-party rights. On 29 May 2001, the US requested the Director-General to determine the composition of the Panel. On 7 June 2001, the Panel was composed.
On 26 July 2001, the US requested the Panel, pursuant to Article 12.12 of the DSU, to suspend its work until 30 September 2001 in light of ongoing consultations between the US and the EC. On 27 September, the US requested a further suspension of the Panel from 1 to 9 October 2001. On 9 October, the US requested to further suspend the work of the Panel until 1 November 2001. On 1 November, the US requested to further suspend the work of the Panel until 16 November 2001. On 19 November 2001, the US requested the Panel to suspend its work until 30 November 2001.
Mutually agreed solution
On 18 December 2001, the US and the EC informed the DSB that they had reached a mutually agreed solution pursuant to Article 3.6 of the DSU.
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