DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

DS: United States — Equalizing Excise Tax Imposed by Florida on Processed Orange and Grapefruit Products

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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Current status

 

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Key facts

Short title:
Complainant:
Respondent:
Third Parties:
Agreements cited:
(as cited in request for consultations)
Request for Consultations received:
Mutually Agreed Solution notified: 2 June 2004

 

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Latest document

  

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Summary of the dispute to date

The summary below was up-to-date at

Consultations

Complaint by Brazil.

On 20 March 2002, Brazil requested consultations with the US concerning the so-called “Equalizing Excise Tax” imposed by the State of Florida on processed orange and grapefruit products produced from citrus fruit grown outside the United States (Section 601.155 Florida Statutes). Brazil indicated that since 1970, the state of Florida had imposed, pursuant to section 601.155 of the Florida Statutes, an “equalizing excise tax” on processed orange and processed grapefruit products, in amounts determined by the Florida Department of Citrus. However, the statute by its terms — Section 601.155(5), Florida Statutes — exempted from the tax products “produced in whole or in part from citrus fruit grown within the United States.” In the view of Brazil the incidence of this tax on imported processed citrus products and not on domestic products on its face constituted a violation of Articles II:1(a), III.1 and III:2 of GATT 1994.

Brazil contended that the impact of the Florida equalizing excise tax had been to provide protection and support to domestic processed citrus products and to restrain the importation of processed citrus products into Florida. Since processed citrus products, principally in the form of frozen concentrated orange juice were among Brazil’s most significant exports to the United States, Brazil was of the view that the restraint on their importation by the State of Florida constituted a nullification and impairment of benefits accruing to Brazil under GATT 1994. Brazil reserved the right to raise additional factual or legal points related to the aforementioned measure during the course of consultations.

On 16 August 2002, Brazil requested the establishment of the panel. At its meeting on 30 August 2002, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.

 

Panel and Appellate Body proceedings

Further to a second request to establish a panel by Brazil, the DSB established a panel at its meeting on 1 October 2002. The EC, Mexico and Paraguay reserved their third party rights to participate in the panel proceedings. On 11 October 2002, Chile reserved its third party rights to participate in the panel proceedings.

 

Mutually agreed solution

On 28 May 2004, the United States and Brazil informed the DSB that they had reached a mutually agreed solution under Article 3.6 of the DSU.

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