Summary of Australia's involvement in disputes currently before the World Trade Organization.
Australia - Measures Affecting the Importation of Apples from New Zealand
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 Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) established
a panel on 21 January 2008 at New Zealand's request. In its statements
to the DSB, Australia reiterated its position that its measures are
WTO-consistent and indicated its preference to resolve the dispute bilaterally.
On 12 March 2008, the Panel
was composed of the following three individuals: Mr Attie Swart (Chair),
Mr William Ehlers and Ms Kirsten Hillman. Key dates in the panel process
- New Zealand's first
written submission: 20 June 2008
- Australia's first
written submission: 18 July 2008
- First Panel hearing:
2-3 September 2008 (Geneva)
- Second Panel hearing:
30 June-2 July 2009 (Geneva)
- Issue of the Panel's
final report to parties: January 2010*
* Official circulation of the
panel's final report to the WTO Membership and general public will occur
following its translation into the WTO official languages.
Upon composition of the panel,
Australia submitted a request for the Panel to make a preliminary ruling
as to whether New Zealand's panel request complies with the requirements
of Article 6.2 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). The Panel issued its preliminary ruling to the parties on 6 June 2008.
- Australia's request for
a preliminary ruling in DS367 (word) (rtf) [ PDF ]
- Australia's further submission on its request for a preliminary
ruling (word) (rtf) [ PDF ]
- Australia's response to the submissions of third parties in relation
to Australia's request for a preliminary ruling (word) (rtf) [ PDF ]
ruling of the Panel
Australia lodged its first
written submission in Geneva on 18 July 2008, in response to New Zealand's
- Australia's first written
submission in DS367 (word - 3.6MB) (rtf - 33.5MB) (pdf - 2.5MB)
- Executive summary of Australia's first written submission in DS367
(word) (rtf) [ PDF ]
Both Parties participated in
the first panel hearing in Geneva on 2-3 September 2008.
On 19 December 2008, Australia
and New Zealand jointly advised the Panel that New Zealand would no
longer pursue its claim against one of the measures at issue, based
on Australia's advice that it does not impose such a measure. See: Joint letter to
the Panel. (Also available in
In the first quarter of 2009,
the Panel consulted independent experts on the scientific and technical
issues in this dispute, and both Parties commented on the experts’
Australia then lodged its rebuttal
submission with the Panel on 21 April 2009.
- Australia’s rebuttal
submission in DS367 (rtf)
executive summary to its rebuttal submission (rtf)
The next stage in the dispute
process involves the Panel meeting with the Parties for the second oral
hearing in Geneva on 30 June - 2 July 2009. The first day of that
hearing will involve questioning of the independent experts. It is expected
that the second hearing will be open to the public.
Australia - Certain Measures
Affecting the Importation of Fresh Pineapple Fruit (DS271)
The Philippine' 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 panellists.
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 or Appellate Body.
- Grants, Loans and Other Incentives (DS387, DS388)
The United States submitted
a request for consultations on 19 December 2008 (circulated to WTO Members
on 7 January 2009) in relation to certain Chinese (so called “Famous
Brands”) measures offering grants, loans, and other incentives to
enterprises in China (DS387). The United States contends that these
measures appear to be inconsistent with the Agreement on Subsidies and
Countervailing Measures, the Agreement on Agriculture, China's Accession
Protocol and GATT 1994 commitments. Mexico has also requested parallel
consultations on 19 December 2008 (circulated on 8 January 2009) on
these Chinese measures (DS388). On 19 January 2009 (circulated on 22
January 2009), Guatemala similarly requested consultations with China
China agreed to the participation
of third parties (Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, the European
Communities, Guatemala, New Zealand and Turkey) in the consultations
The consultations were held
in Geneva from 5-6 February 2009 and to date no request for panel establishment
has been made.
China - Measures Affecting
Trading Rights and Distribution Services for Certain Publications and
Audiovisual Entertainment Products (DS363)
On 27 November 2007 the DSB
established a panel to examine a complaint by the United States concerning
trading rights and distribution services for publications, sound recordings
and audiovisual products in China. Australia has joined the dispute
as a third party because of commercial and systemic interests in the
matter at issue, together with Chinese Taipei, the European Communities,
Japan, and Korea. Australia, the EC, Japan and Korea made oral statements
to the Panel on 23 July 2008. Australia submitted responses to questions
from the Panel on 11 August 2008. The Panel’s report is expected to
be released in mid-2009.
China - Measures Affecting
the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (DS362)
On 25 September 2007, a panel
was established to examine the complaint by the United States regarding
China's protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
Australia joined the dispute as a third party in addition to Argentina,
Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the European Communities, India, Japan,
Korea, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey. The DSB adopted the report of the
Panel on 20 March 2009 and the report can be found at the WTO website.
Communities - Measures Concerning Meat and Meat Products (Hormones):
Recourse to Article 21.5 by the European Communities (DS26, DS48)
On 8 January 2009, the European
Communities requested consultations with the United States and Canada
(DS26 and DS48 respectively) under Article 21.5 of the DSU. 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 SPS Agreement. Australia’s request to join the consultations as
a third party was accepted, and consultations took place on 10 February
2009 but failed to resolve the dispute. To date, none of the Parties
have requested the establishment of a panel.
- Certain Measures Affecting Poultry Meat and Poultry Meat Products
from the United States (DS389)
On 20 January 2009, the United
States requested consultations with the European Communities in respect
of its prohibition on the import of poultry treated with certain pathogen
reduction treatments (PRTs) designed to reduce the amount of microbes
on meat. Australia’s request to join the consultations as a third
party was accepted, and consultations took place on 11 February 2009
but failed to resolve the dispute. To date, the United States has not
moved to the next stage of requesting a panel.
- Tariff Treatment of Certain Information Technology Products (DS375,
DS376 & DS377)
On 23 September 2008 the DSB
established a panel to examine the complaints of the United States,
Japan and Chinese Taipei (DS375, DS376 & DS377 respectively) concerning
the tariff treatment of flat panel displays, set-top boxes with a communication
function and multifunctional digital machines. Australia has joined
the dispute as a third party along with Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Hong
Kong, India, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and
Vietnam. The Panel conducted its first meeting with the parties
between 12-14 May 2009, and the second meeting is scheduled for July 2009. Australia delivered an oral statement
at the third party session on 13 May. The Panel expects to complete
its work in the second half of 2009.
European Communities and
Certain Member States/United 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
Communitie' and Member State subsidies to the European large civil aircraft
sector, which the United States contends are inconsistent with the Agreement
on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and GATT 1994 commitments.
A panel was established on 20 July 2005. Australia, Brazil, Canada,
China, Japan and 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 is expected to complete its report by the end of 2009.
Thailand - Customs and
Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines (DS371)
A panel was established on
17 November 2008 and later composed on 16 February 2009 to consider
Thai customs duties and other fiscal measures imposed on imported Philippine
cigarettes. This is the first time a panel will consider a Member's
obligations under the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement. Australia has
joined the dispute as a third party on the basis of systemic legal interests
in the matters at issue. Australia has joined the dispute as a third
party along with the European Communities, Chinese Taipei, the United
States, China and India. The first meeting with the parties and the Panel was scheduled for 10-12 June 2009 and Australia delivered an oral statement at the third party session on 11 June.
- Definitive Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties on Certain Products
from China (DS379)
On 19 September 2008, China
requested consultations with the United States regarding the anti-dumping
and countervailing duties imposed by the United States. Consultations
were held on 14 November 2008 but failed to resolve the dispute. On
12 December 2008, China requested that a panel be established to examine
the matter. A panel was established following China's second request
on 20 January 2009. China contends that the US measures are inconsistent
with the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the Anti-Dumping
Agreement, China's Accession Protocol and GATT 1994 commitments of the
United States. The Panel was composed on
4 March 2009. The first substantive meeting with the parties and third
parties session is due to be held on 7-8 July 2009.
Australia has joined as a third
party along with the European Communities, Canada, Argentina, Kuwait,
Turkey, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
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 United States large civil aircraft industry. A panel
was established in February 2006. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China,
Japan and 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 is expected to complete its report in 2009.
United States - Domestic
Support and Export Credit Guarantees for Agricultural Products (DS357
A single dispute panel was
established by the DSB on 17 December 2007 in relation to Canada and
Brazil's dispute with the United States on domestic support for agricultural
products. Australia has joined the dispute as a third party on the basis
of systemic and commercial interests. Other third parties are Argentina,
Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, the European Communities, India, Japan,
Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, South Africa, and Thailand. To date
no request for panel composition has been made.
Meetings of the Dispute
Settlement Body (DSB)
At its regular meeting on 20 March 2009, the DSB adopted the report of the Panel in the China - Measures affecting the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (DS362) (see above) and a panel was established in the United States - Anti-Dumping Measures on Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bags from Thailand (DS383).
At the regular meeting of the DSB on 20 April, a Panel was established in the United States - Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products (DS381) dispute brought by Mexico.
The next regular meeting of the DSB will be held on 20 May 2009.
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.