DS: Venezuela — Import Licensing Measures on Certain Agricultural 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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Summary of the dispute to date

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Complaint by the United States.

On 7 November 2002 the United States requested consultations with Venezuela concerning Venezuelan import licensing systems and practices that restrict agricultural imports from the United States. According to the United States, Venezuela has established import licensing requirements for numerous agricultural products, including corn, sorghum, dairy products (for example, cheese, whey, whole milk powder, and non-fat dry milk), grapes, yellow grease, poultry, beef, pork, and soybean meal.

The United States claimed that Venezuela appears to have established a discretionary import licensing regime for the above products. It further claimed that, through its import licensing practices, Venezuela has failed to establish a transparent and predictable system for issuing import licenses and has severely restricted and distorted trade in these goods.

The United States alleges that Venezuela’s import licensing systems and practices appear to be inconsistent with Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture; Articles III, X, XI, and XIII of GATT 1994; Article 2.1 of the TRIMs Agreement, and Articles 1.4, 3.2, 3.5, 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 of the Import Licensing Agreement. Venezuela’s measures also appear to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to the United States directly or indirectly under the cited agreements.

On 20 November 2002, the EC and Canada requested to join the consultations. On 21 November 2002, New Zealand and Chile requested to join the consultations. On 22 November 2002, Argentina and Colombia requested to join the consultations. On 25 November 2002, Venezuela informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Argentina, Canada, Chile, the EC and New Zealand to join the consultations.


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