DS: China — Anti-Dumping measures on stainless steel products from Japan
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 Japan
On 11 June 2021, Japan requested consultations with China with respect to measures imposing anti-dumping duties on stainless steel billets, hot-rolled coils, and hot-rolled plates from Japan.
Japan claimed that these measures appear to be inconsistent with:
- Articles 1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 4.1, 6.5, 6.5.1, 6.9, 12.2, and 12.2.2 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement; and
- Article VI of the GATT 1994.
Panel and Appellate Body proceedings
On 19 August 2021, Japan requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 30 August 2021, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.
At its meeting on 27 September 2021, the DSB established a panel. Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, India, Korea, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Chinese Taipei, the United States, and Viet Nam reserved their third-party rights.
On 13 January 2022, Japan requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On 24 January 2022, the Director-General composed the panel.
On 27 June 2022, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that, due to the complexity and magnitude of the dispute and the need to ensure that the parties had sufficient time to prepare and present their cases, particularly given the challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the panel expected to issue its final report to the parties by the first quarter of 2023. The Chair of the panel apprised 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 17 March 2023, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that the panel expected to issue its final report to the parties in May 2023.
On 11 April 2023, Japan and China informed the DSB that they had agreed to Procedures for Arbitration under Article 25 of the DSU in this dispute. Such procedures were entered into by Japan and China to give effect to communication JOB/DSB/1/Add.12 (“Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement Pursuant To Article 25 Of The DSU (MPIA)”) and with the objective of setting a framework for an Arbitrator to decide on any appeal of any final panel report issued in this dispute, should the Appellate Body not be able to hear such an appeal under Articles 16.4 and 17 of the DSU.
The following summarizes the main findings of the panel:
- The panel found that Japan established that MOFCOM's determination of the domestic industry was inconsistent with Article 4.1 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement because MOFCOM failed to provide a reasoned and adequate explanation of its finding that the production of the firms included in the domestic industry represented a “major proportion” of the total production of all Chinese producers.
- The panel found that Japan did not establish that MOFCOM's definition of the domestic industry was inconsistent with Article 4.1 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement due to certain alleged discrepancies in data MOFCOM relied on, and due to the alleged lack of representativeness of the domestic industry. The panel did not consider it necessary to make findings in relation to Japan's consequential claim under Article 3.1 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement.
- The panel found that Japan did not establish that MOFCOM acted inconsistently with Articles 3.1 and 3.3 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement in finding that a cumulative assessment of the effects of the subject imports was appropriate in light of the conditions of competition between the imported products and the conditions of competition between the imported products and the like domestic product. The panel, therefore, also found that Japan did not establish that MOFCOM's price effects analysis, impact analysis and causation findings were, respectively, inconsistent with Articles 3.2, 3.4, and 3.5 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement as a consequence of MOFCOM's alleged violation under Articles 3.1 and 3.3.
- The panel found that Japan established that MOFCOM's consideration of price effects was inconsistent with Articles 3.1 and 3.2 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement because the following aspects of MOFCOM's consideration were not based on an objective examination of positive evidence.
- MOFCOM's findings with respect to the comparability of prices of stainless steel billets (slabs), stainless steel plates, and stainless steel coils;
- MOFCOM's price comparisons between imported and domestic like products of various grades of steel; and
- MOFCOM's overall conclusion of price depression.
- The panel found that Japan established that MOFCOM acted inconsistently with Articles 3.1 and 3.4 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement in its examination of the following factors: domestic market share, trends in sales prices, capacity utilization and ending inventory. The panel also found that Japan did not establish that MOFCOM acted inconsistently with Articles 3.1 and 3.4 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement when examining, in the context of its impact analysis, the domestic industry's sales volume, apparent domestic consumption, pre-tax profits, and return on investment.
- The panel found that Japan established that MOFCOM's causation analysis was inconsistent with Articles 3.1 and 3.5 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement because:
- it relied upon MOFCOM's price effects and impact analyses, which were inconsistent with Articles 3.1, 3.2, and 3.4 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement; and
- MOFCOM's non-attribution analysis in respect of the increase in nickel prices since mid-2016 was not based on an objective examination of positive evidence, and was not reasonably and adequately explained.
- The panel found that Japan did not establish that MOFCOM's non-attribution analysis in respect of the decrease in price of nickel from May 2014 to the end of 2015 and introduction of stricter environmental standards was inconsistent with Articles 3.1 and 3.5 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement.
- The panel found that Japan did not establish that MOFCOM acted inconsistently with Article 6.5 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement when it accepted, by implication, that the good cause which the applicant presented justified the redaction of the company names at the time it made its application. The Panel also found that Japan had not established that the non-confidential summary of the confidential information in the application was inconsistent with Article 6.5.1.
- The panel found that Japan established that MOFCOM acted inconsistently with Article 6.9 because it failed to disclose certain essential facts under consideration that formed the basis for its price effects analysis and its causation determination. The panel found that Japan did not establish that MOFCOM acted inconsistently with Article 6.9 in relation to its disclosure of the essential facts pertaining to the following: (a) cumulation analysis, (b) examination of the state of domestic industry, (c) causation determination in relation to cost of environment regulations, and (d) definition of the domestic industry.
- The panel rejected several claims under Articles 12.2 and 12.2.2 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement challenging different aspects of MOFCOM's public notice, and found it unnecessary to address certain other claims under these provisions.
- The panel did not find it necessary to make findings on several claims raised by Japan in these proceedings.
At its meeting on 28 July 2023, the DSB adopted the panel report.
Reasonable period of time
On 25 August 2023, China informed the DSB that it intended to implement the recommendations and rulings of the DSB in a manner consistent with its WTO obligations and that it would need a reasonable period of time to do so. On 27 October 2023, China and Japan informed the DSB that they had agreed pursuant to Article 21.3(b) of the DSU, that the reasonable period of time for China to implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings would be 9 months and 10 days. Accordingly, the reasonable period of time was set to expire on 8 May 2024.
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