DS: Japan — Measures Affecting Consumer Photographic Film and Paper

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 13 June 1996, the United States requested consultations with Japan concerning Japan’s laws, regulations and requirements affecting the distribution, offering for sale and internal sale of imported consumer photographic film and paper. The US alleged that:

  • the Japanese Government treated imported film and paper less favourably through these measures, in violation of GATT Articles III and X.
  • these measures nullify or impair benefits accruing to the US (a non-violation claim).

On 20 September 1996, the US requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 3 October 1996, 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 on 16 October 1996. The EC and Mexico reserved their third party rights. On 12 December 1996, the US requested the Director-General to determine the composition of the Panel. On 17 December 1996, the Panel was composed. The report of the Panel was circulated to Members on 31 March 1998. The Panel found:

  • that the US had not demonstrated that the Japanese ‘measures’ cited by the US nullified or impaired, either individually or collectively, benefits accruing to the US within the meaning of GATT Article XXIII:1(b);
  • that the US had not demonstrated that the Japanese distribution ‘measures’ cited by the US accord less favourable treatment to imported photographic film and paper within the meaning of GATT Article III:4; and
  • that the US did not demonstrate that Japan failed to publish administrative rulings of general application in violation of GATT Article X:1.

The Panel report was adopted by the DSB on 22 April 1998.


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