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
On 1 June 2018, the European Union requested consultations with the United States concerning certain measures imposed by the United States to allegedly adjust imports of steel and aluminium into the United States.
The European Union claimed that the measures appear to be inconsistent with:
- Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 7, 9, 11.1(a), 12.1, 12.2 and 12.3 of the Agreement on Safeguards;
- Articles I:1, II:1(a), II:1(b), X:3(a), XI:1, XIX:1(a) and XIX:2 of the GATT 1994; and
- Article XVI:4 of the WTO Agreement.
On 8 June 2018, Japan request to join the consultations. On 13 June 2018, China requested to join the consultations. On 14 June 2018, Thailand and Turkey requested to join the consultations. On 15 June 2018, Canada, Hong Kong, China, India, Mexico, Norway and the Russian Federation requested to join the consultations. On 18 June 2018, Indonesia requested to join the consultations.
On 11 June 2018, the United States requested the Chair of the DSB to circulate to Members a communication where it indicated that the United States accepted the European Union's request to enter into consultations, without prejudice to the US view that the measures imposed by the United States concern issues of national security not susceptible to review or capable of resolution by WTO dispute settlement and that the consultations provisions in the Agreement on Safeguards are not applicable. The United States also referred to the European Union's notification of 18 May 2018 that it intended to suspend concessions and other obligations, pursuant to Article 8.2 of the Agreement on Safeguards.
Panel and Appellate Body proceedings
On 18 October 2018, the European Union requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 29 October 2018, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.
At its meeting on 21 November 2018, the DSB established a panel. Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Hong Kong, China, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela reserved their third-party rights.
On 7 January 2019, the European Union requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On 25 January 2019, the Director-General composed the panel.
On 4 September 2019, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that the panel expected to issue its final report to the parties no earlier than autumn 2020. The Chair also informed the DSB that the report would be available to the public once it was circulated to the Members in all three official languages, and that the date of circulation depends on completion of translation. On 4 February 2021, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that due to delays caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the panel expected to issue its final report to the parties no earlier than the second half of 2021.
On 8 November 2021, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that the panel had granted the European Union's request of 4 November 2021, to which the United States agreed on the same day, that the panel suspend its work pursuant to Article 12.12 of the DSU until 17 December 2021.
On 17 January 2021, the United States and the European Union notified the DSB that they were terminating this dispute before the panel pursuant to the DSU in light of the agreed procedures for arbitration under Article 25 of the DSU, notified to the DSB in a separate communication. On 20 January 2022, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that it was in receipt of a communication from the European Union, dated 17 January 2022, notifying the withdrawal of the complaint, and had accordingly ceased all work in these proceedings.
Arbitration under Article 25
On 17 January 2022, the United States and the European Union notified the DSB that they had agreed, pursuant to Article 25.2 of the DSU, to resort to arbitration on the matter pending before the panel in this dispute, in the terms described in the agreed procedures annexed to that communication. The parties also apprised the DSB that upon composition of the arbitrator, the arbitration shall be immediately and indefinitely suspended.
Pursuant to the request of the parties, the arbitrator was composed on 20 January 2022 with the same persons who served as members of the panel. As provided in the parties' communication of 17 January 2022, the arbitration was suspended.
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