Australia and WTO dispute settlement
In this issue
European Communities: Protection of Trademarks and Geographical
Indications for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs (WT/DS290)
In response to a request from Australia and the US for the WTO Director-General
to determine the composition of the Panel formally approved (“established”) in October 2003, Dr Supachai selected on 23 February the following panellists
to hear this dispute: Mr Miguel Rodríguez Mendoza (Chairman), Mr Seung Wha Chang and Mr Peter Kam-fai Cheung. The
Panel is expected to complete its consideration of this dispute late in 2004.
WTO Chairpersons for 2004
The WTO General Council at its 11 February meeting noted the consensus
on the nominated Chairpersons for WTO Bodies, including those established
under the Trade Negotiations Committee. Kenyan Ambassador Amina Mohamed will
be the new Chairperson of the Dispute Settlement Body, replacing Ambassador
Oshima. Australia’s Ambassador to the WTO, David Spencer, is the new Chairperson of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) Review negotiations.
Australia as a Complainant
United States: Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000
(the “Byrd Amendment”) (WT/DS217 and WT/DS234)
In late January, eight of the eleven complainants in this dispute
(not including Australia) requested authorisation to retaliate against the
US. Owing to US objections as to the level of retaliation proposed, these
requests have been referred to arbitration. The arbitrator’s decision is expected over the next couple of months. Australia has agreed to
allow the US until 27 December 2004 to comply with the Panel and Appellate
European Communities (EC): Export Subsidies on Sugar (WT/DS/265)
Panel processes are now underway. The Panel is scheduled to report
towards the end of 2004. See a summary of Australia’s first written submission (pdf - 228KB).
Australia as a Respondent
Australia: Certain Measures Affecting the Importation of Fresh Fruit
and Vegetables (WT/DS270)
No new developments. A panel has been
established but not yet composed.
Australia: Certain Measures Affecting the Importation of Fresh Pineapple
No new developments. Consultations
were held in November 2002 at the request of the Philippines, but no panel
has been established.
Australia: Quarantine Regime for Imports (WT/DS287)
No new developments. A panel has been established but not yet composed.
that have involved Australia as a Third Party
EC: Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing
of Biotech Products (WT/DS291, 292 and 293)
In response to a request from the complainants in late February to
determine the composition of the Panel, on 4 March the Director-General appointed
the following panellists to hear this dispute: Mr Christian Häberli (Chairman), Mr Mohan Kumar and Mr Akio Shimizu. A panel was established
in this dispute in August 2003 at the request of the United States, Canada
and Argentina for an examination of the EC’s moratorium on the approval of genetically modified organisms and the marketing
and import bans maintained by some EC states on genetically modified products.
Canada: Measures Relating to Exports of Wheat
Media reporting suggests that the Panel issued its report to the parties
in early February 2004. Public release of the report is expected in early
third party submission in this dispute.
United States: Subsidies on Upland Cotton
The panel report is expected to be issued mid 2004.
third party submissions to the Panel.
Mexico: Measures Affecting Telecommunications Services (WT/DS204)
The Panel expects to circulate its report shortly. This
dispute was brought by the United States, which alleges that Mexico has failed
to implement its GATS commitments with regard to the supply of basic telecommunications
European Communities (EC): Measures
Affecting Meat and Meat Products (Hormones) (WT/DS26)
The US has indicated its intention to maintain the suspension of concessions
on the basis that the EC has still not made its import prohibition regime
WTO-consistent. Canada has offered to consult with the EC on the matter, while also maintaining
United States: Section 110(5) Copyright Act (“Homestyle”exemption)
No new developments. A mutually satisfactory
temporary agreement between the United States and the EC was notified to
the DSB in June 2003.
United States: Tax Treatment for “Foreign
The EC has adopted a scheme of countermeasures that entered into force
on 1 March. These apply as additional customs duties on selected US products
at an initial rate of 5%, to be followed by monthly increases up to a ceiling
of 17% to be attained on 1 March 2005 if the US does not bring the FSC/ETI
legislation into compliance with its WTO obligations.
Japan: Measures Affecting the Importation of Apples (WT/DS245)
Japan has indicated that it will implement the recommendations and
will consult with the United States on the reasonable period of time to do
so. The Panel and Appellate Body reports in this dispute were adopted on
10 December 2003.
Meetings of the Dispute
General DSB Meeting –17
The DSB adopted the Appellate Body and Panel reports in US –Final
Countervailing Duty Determination with respect to Certain Softwood Lumber
Products from Canada (WT/DS257). Canada initiated this dispute in 2002, alleging that US-imposed countervailing
duties against imports of Canadian softwood lumber were based on a WTO-inconsistent
subsidy determination. The Appellate Body upheld some of the Panel’s findings, but reversed its finding on the “benefit”conferred by the subsidy.
Two panel requests were submitted at the 17
February meeting. The EC requested the establishment of a Panel to examine the calculation methodologies
used by the US with regard to dumping margins –the so-called “zeroing”methodology (US –Laws, regulations and methodology for calculating dumping margins (WT/DS294)). Korea requested the establishment of a Panel with regard to EC –Measures affecting trade in commercial vessels (WT/DS301), a complaint that focuses on the EC “Temporary Defence Mechanism”. Korea alleges that this mechanism amounts to both a unilateral determination
of a violation of WTO obligations with regard to subsidies and a unilateral
imposition of a punitive measure against Korea. Both the US and EC respectively exercised their right to block these first panel
Chile withdrew its request for consultations with regard to Mexico –Measures
affecting the import of matches (WT/DS232). Handover to the new DSB Chairperson, Ambassador Mohamed, was postponed until
the next regular DSB meeting, to be held on 19 March.
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This publication is intended to provide a general update and the information
within it should not be relied on as complete or definitive.