Summary of Australia's involvement in disputes currently before the World Trade Organization

Updated March 2014

Australia as a defending party (respondent)

Australia — Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks, and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging (DS434) and Australia — Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging (DS435, DS441, DS458 and DS467)

The following five WTO Members have each requested WTO dispute consultations with Australia in relation to Australia's tobacco plain packaging measure:

Consultations are confidential and without prejudice to the rights of any party in any further proceedings. Sixty days after requesting consultations, a complainant may make a request to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body to establish a dispute settlement panel.

At the request of Ukraine, a dispute settlement panel was established by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body at its meeting on 28 September 2012. Thirty-five WTO Members have indicated that they will join the dispute as a third party: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, the European Union, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The panel has not yet been appointed.

Ukraine's request for panel establishment [HTML] | [PDF 27 KB]

Dominican Republic filed its first request with the WTO Secretariat for the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel on 9 November 2012.  Australia rejected the Dominican Republic’s first request at the meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on 17 December 2012. Dominican Republic has not made a further request to date.

Dominican Republic’s request for panel establishment [HTML] | [PDF 21 KB]

At the request of Honduras, a dispute settlement panel was established by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body at its meeting on 25 September 2013. Thirty-three WTO Members have indicated that they will join the dispute as a third party: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the European Union, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United States, Ukraine, Uruguay, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The panel has not yet been appointed.

Honduras' request for panel establishment [HTML] | [PDF 20 KB]

Australia — Measures Affecting the Importation of Apples from New Zealand (DS367)

New Zealand requested consultations with Australia on 31 August 2007 in relation to Australia's measures affecting the importation of apples from New Zealand. Consultations were held on 4 October 2007. The WTO Dispute Settlement Body established a panel on 21 January 2008 at New Zealand's request. The panel issued its final report to the parties on 27 May 2010.

On 10 August 2010, the Australian Government announced that it would appeal the Panel's decision to the WTO Appellate Body. On 15 September 2010, New Zealand filed a cross appeal. The Appellate Body hearing took place in Geneva on 11 and 12 October 2010.

The Appellate Body issued its report on 29 November 2010, and the Appellate Body and Panel reports were adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body on 17 December 2010.

On 17 August 2011, Australia commenced issuing import permits for apples from New Zealand, consistent with the joint notification of the agreed reasonable period of time by Australia and New Zealand to the Dispute Settlement Body on 31 January 2011. Import of New Zealand apples into Australia commenced as of 19 August 2011.

Media release: Final report for the non-regulated analysis of existing policy for apples from New Zealand

Australia has informed the WTO Dispute Settlement Body that it has fully implemented the recommendations and rulings in the dispute.

Australia — Certain Measures Affecting the Importation of Fresh Pineapple Fruit (DS271)

The Philippines' request for consultations was received on 18 October 2002, and consultations were held in November 2002. However, the Philippines has not moved to the next procedural stage of requesting the establishment of a panel.

Australia — Certain Measures Affecting the Importation of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (DS270)

A panel was established on 29 August 2003 at the request of the Philippines. However the dispute has not moved to the next procedural stage of the appointment of panelists.

Australia as a Third Party

Australia often joins disputes as a third party when it has commercial and/or legal interests in the matters in question. This provides an opportunity to present our views to the panel and, if the panel report is appealed, to the Appellate Body.

Indonesia – Importation of Horticultural Products, Animals and Animal Products (DS465, DS466)

On 30 August 2013, the United States and New Zealand requested consultations with Indonesia concerning certain measures it imposes on the importation of horticultural products, animals and animal products. On 23 September 2013 Australia participated in the consultations in Jakarta as a third party. These disputes supersede the previous dispute initiated by the United States (DS455) in relation to Indonesia’s import restrictions on these products.

Argentina – Measures Relating to Trade in Goods and Services (DS453)

On 12 December 2012, Panama requested WTO dispute settlement consultations with Argentina with respect to Argentina’s income and profit taxation measures, which have been exclusively applied to certain foreign entities from certain listed countries. A panel was established on 25 June 2013. Australia, China, Ecuador, the European Union, Guatemala, Honduras, India and the United States reserved their third party rights. Subsequently, Brazil, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Singapore reserved their third party rights.

United States – Countervailing and Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Products from China (DS449)

On 17 September 2012, China requested consultations with the United States concerning countervailing duty provisions and associated anti-dumping measures on certain products from China. A panel was established on 17 December 2012 at the request of China, and was composed on 4 March 2013. Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Turkey and Vietnam reserved their third party rights.

Australia submitted its third party written submission on 24 June 2013 and delivered its third party oral statement during the hearing on 3 July 2013.

US — Measures Affecting the Importation of Animals, Meat and other Animal Products from Argentina (DS447)

On 4 September 2012, Argentina requested consultations with the United States on measures applied to Argentina’s imports of meats and other products of animal origin. Argentina considered the measures to be applied on sanitary grounds without scientific justification. A panel was established on 28 January 2013. Australia, China, European Union, India and Republic of Korea reserved their third party rights. The panel was composed on 8 August 2013.

European Union and a Member State — Certain Measures Concerning the Importation of Biodiesels (DS443)

On 17 August 2012, Argentina requested consultations with the European Union and Spain concerning certain measures affecting the importation of biodiesels that relate to compliance with the mandatory targets for biofuels. Australia and Indonesia requested joining the consultations, and both requests were accepted by the European Union. On 17 December 2013 the European Union rejected Argentina’s first request to establish a panel at the meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body.

Argentina — Measures Affecting the Importation of Goods (DS444, DS445, DS446 and DS438)

On 25 May 2012, the European Union requested consultations with Argentina concerning certain measures imposed by Argentina on the importation of goods (DS438). On 21 August 2012, the United States and Japan requested consultations with Argentina regarding the same measures (DS444 and DS445, respectively). Mexico also requested consultations with Argentina on 24 August 2012 (DS446). Australia, as well as a number of other WTO Members including Canada, China and India, requested to join consultations in each of the disputes. Mexico requested the establishment of a panel on 21 November 2012, but subsequently withdrew its request and remains in consultations. At the meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body on 28 January 2013 a panel was established.  The panel was composed on 27 May 2013.

Australia submitted its third party written submission on 28 August 2013 and delivered its third party oral statement during the hearing on 25 September 2013.

United States — Countervailing Duty Measures on Certain Products from China (DS437)

On 25 May 2012, China requested consultations with the United States concerning the imposition of countervailing duty measures by the United States on certain products from China. At its meeting on 28 September 2012, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body established a panel. Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Russian Federation, Turkey and Vietnam reserved their third party rights. The panel was composed on 26 November 2012.

Australia submitted its third party submission on 22 March 2013 and delivered its third party oral statement during the hearing on 30 April 2013.

United States — Countervailing Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Products from India (DS436)

On 24 April 2012, India requested consultations with the United States with regard to the imposition of countervailing duties by the United States on certain hot rolled carbon steel flat products from India. The WTO Dispute Settlement Body established a panel on 31 August 2012. Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have reserved their third party rights. The panel was composed on 18 February 2013.

Australia submitted its written third party submission on 13 May 2013 and delivered its third party oral statement during the hearing on 10 July 2013.

China — Measures Related to the Exportation of Rare Earths, Tungsten and Molybdenum (DS431, DS432 and DS433)

On 13 March 2012, the United States, the European Union and Japan separately requested consultations with China with respect to China's restrictions on the export of various forms of rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum (DS431, DS432 and DS433, respectively). At its meeting on 23 July 2012, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body established a single panel to examine these disputes. Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Oman, Peru, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and Vietnam reserved their third party rights. The panel was composed on 24 September 2012. Australia submitted its third party submission on 17 January 2013 and delivered its third party oral statement during the hearing on 27 February 2013.

India — Measures Concerning the Importation of Certain Agricultural Products from the United States (DS430)

On 6 March 2012, the United States requested WTO dispute settlement consultations with India with respect to prohibitions imposed by India on the importation of various agricultural products from the United States because of concerns related to avian influenza. At its meeting on 25 June 2012, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body established a panel. Australia, Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, the European Union, Guatemala, Japan and Vietnam reserved their third party rights. The panel was composed on 18 February 2013.

Australia submitted its third party written submission on 14 June 2013 and delivered its third party oral statement during the hearing on 24 July 2013. 

Canada — Certain Measures Affecting the Renewable Energy Generation Sector (DS412) and Canada — Measures Relating to the Feed-in Tariff Program (DS426)

On 13 September 2010, Japan requested consultations with Canada regarding Canada's feed-in tariff program for the renewable energy generation sector (DS412). On 11 August 2011 the European Union requested consultations with Canada regarding the same measures (DS426). A panel was established at the meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on 20 July 2011 for DS412 and on 20 January 2012 for DS426. The panel for DS412 was composed on 6 October 2011. On 23 January 2012, the panel for DS426 was composed with the same members as the DS412 panel. The timetable for both disputes was harmonized. Australia, Brazil, China, El Salvador, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Chinese Taipei, Turkey and the United States reserved their third party rights in each of the disputes.

On 19 December 2012, the panel report was circulated to Members. On 5 February 2013, Canada filed a Notice of Appeal, and on 11 February 2013 Japan and the European Union also filed Notices of Appeal. The Appellate Body hearing took place from 14 to 15 March 2013. Australia made the following submissions and statements during the appeal process:

The Appellate Body released its report on 6 May 2013, and the report was adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body on 24 May 2013.  In response to the Appellate Body's Report, Australia made the following statement at the meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body.

United States – Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements (DS384, DS386)

On 1 December 2008, Canada requested consultations with the United States regarding the mandatory country of original labelling (COOL) provisions in the United States Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. On 17 December 2008, Mexico requested consultations with the United States. A panel was established on 19 November 2009. Argentina, Australia, China, Colombia, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Peru and New Zealand reserved their third-party rights. Subsequently, Brazil, the European Communities, Guatemala and Chinese Taipei reserved their third-party rights.

On 18 November 2011, the panel report was released.  Both the European Union and the United States appealed aspects of the panel's findings. Australia lodged its third participant written submission with the Appellate Body on 13 April 2012. The oral hearing was held in Geneva from 2 to 3 May 2012.

On 23 July 2012 the Dispute Settlement Body adopted the Appellate Body reports.

On 23 May 2013, the ‘reasonable period of time’ for the United States to implement the Appellate Body’s rulings expired. On 25 September 2013, the Dispute Settlement Body agreed at the request of Canada and Mexico to refer the case to a compliance panel to determine whether the United States brought its measure into compliance with the Appellate Body’s rulings. Australia, Brazil, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand and Guatemala have reserved their third party rights.

United States – Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products (DS381)

On 24 October 2008, Mexico requested consultations with the US in relation to the US’ requirement for producers to obtain and place a ‘dolphin-safe’ label on tuna products by providing documentary evidence of certain criteria.  On 20 April 2009, the Dispute Settlement Body established a panel.  Argentina, Australia, China, Ecuador, the European Communities, Guatemala, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, Turkey, Brazil, Canada, Thailand and Venezuela reserved their third-party rights.

On 15 September 2011, the panel report was circulated to Members. Both the United States and Mexico appealed aspects of the panel’s findings. Australia participated in the Appellate Body third party hearing in Geneva on 10 February 2012.

On 13 June 2012 the Dispute Settlement Body adopted the Appellate Body report.

On 13 July 2013, the reasonable period of time for the US to comply with the Appellate Body’s report expired. On 2 August 2013, the US and Mexico agreed to measures under Articles 21 and 22 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding.

European Communities — Measures Concerning Meat and Meat Products (Hormones): Recourse to Article 21.5 by the European Communities (DS26 and DS48)

On 22 December 2008, the European Communities requested consultations with the United States and Canada (DS26 and DS48 respectively) under Article 21.5 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding. This phase of the dispute concerns whether the European Communities has complied with the panel and Appellate Body rulings in the original EC - Hormones dispute (1998), in which its ban on hormone-treated beef was found to be inconsistent with various provisions of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Australia's request to join the consultations as a third party was accepted, and consultations took place on 10 February 2009. To date, none of the parties have requested the establishment of a panel.

At the regular meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on 19 June 2009 and 23 October 2009, Australia made a statement on the European Communities' new tariff rate quota (TRQ) for high quality beef. This TRQ was established as part of an understanding to reduce the level of sanctions in the ongoing EC - Hormones dispute between the European Communities and the United States. On 20 January 2010, Australia was granted access to this TRQ.

For more information see:

European Communities and Certain Member States — Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft (DS316)

The United States submitted a request for consultations on 6 October 2004 in relation to European Communities' and Member State subsidies to the European large civil aircraft sector, which the United States contends are inconsistent with the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and GATT 1994 commitments. A panel was established on 20 July 2005. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and Republic of Korea reserved their third party rights. Australia lodged a written submission with the panel on 7 May 2007 and delivered an oral statement to the panel at the third party hearing on 24 July 2007. The panel released its report on 30 June 2010. The report can be viewed on the WTO website.

Both the European Union and the United States appealed aspects of the panel's report.

Australia appeared at both hearings in the appeal, which was held from 11 to 17 November 2010 and 9 to 14 December 2010, in Geneva. Australia made the following submissions during the hearings.

The Appellate Body released its report on 18 May 2011, and the report was adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body on 1 June 2011.

On 30 March 2012, the United States requested the establishment of a compliance panel. At its meeting on 13 April 2012, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body agreed to refer the issues raised by the United States to the original panel. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, and Japan reserved their third party rights. On 17 April 2012, the compliance panel was composed, but has not yet issued its report.

Australia made the following oral statement at the hearing on 17 April 2013.

United States — Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft (Second Complaint) (DS353)

The European Communities requested consultations with the United States in June 2005 regarding subsidies provided to the US large civil aircraft industry. A panel was established on 17 February 2006. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and Republic of Korea reserved their third party rights. Australia lodged a written submission with the panel on 1 October 2007 and delivered an oral statement to the panel at the third party hearing on 15 January 2008. The panel report was released on 31 March 2011. Both the European Union and the United States appealed aspects of the panel's findings.

Australia lodged its third participant submission in the Appellate Body hearing on 23 June 2011.

The first session of the Appellate Body oral hearing was held in Geneva from 16 to 19 August 2011. Australia appeared at the hearing.

Australia's Oral Statement for the first session of the hearing

The second session of the oral hearing was held in Geneva from 11 to 14 October 2011. Australia also appeared at the second hearing.

Australia's oral statement for the second session of the hearing in DS353

The Appellate Body circulated its report on 12 March 2012, which was adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body on 23 March 2012.

On 25 September 2012, the European Union requested consultations with the United States regarding alleged non-compliance with the recommendations and rulings in the Appellate Body report. At its meeting on 23 October 2012, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body agreed to refer the matter to the original panel. Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil and the Russian Federation reserved their third party rights. On 30 October 2012, the compliance panel was composed.

Archive

Read archived WTO dispute settlement bulletins and details of former disputes involving Australia. Please note, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade no longer produces monthly WTO dispute settlement bulletins.

Australia and WTO dispute settlement bulletin archive