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

Updated August 2012

Australia as a defending party (respondent)

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

Honduras requested WTO dispute consultations with Australia on 4 April 2012 in relation to Australia's measures on tobacco plain packaging. Australia held consultations in Geneva with Honduras on 1 May 2012. The Dominican Republic requested consultations with Australia on 18 July 2012. Australia will hold consultations with the Dominican Republic by 17 August 2012 or at a date otherwise mutually agreed. Consultations are confidential and without prejudice to the rights of any party in any further proceedings. Sixty days after requesting consultations, a complainant may request the WTO Dispute Settlement Body to establish a dispute settlement panel.

Australia — Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging (DS434)

Ukraine requested WTO dispute consultations with Australia on 13 March 2012 in relation to Australia's measures on tobacco plain packaging. Australia held consultations in Geneva with Ukraine on 12 April 2012.

Ukraine filed a request for establishment of a dispute settlement panel with the WTO on 15 August 2012; this request will be considered at the 31 August 2012 meeting of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).

Ukraine's request for panel establishment [DOC 60 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’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) 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 11-12 October 2010.

The Appellate Body issued its report on DS367 on 29 November 2010, and the Appellate Body and Panel reports were adopted by the DSB on 17 December 2010.

On 17 August 2011, the Australian Government announced that Australia's Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine had determined a policy for the import of apples from New Zealand based on the review.

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

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

Australia has informed the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body that it had 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 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.

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

In 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’s Dispute Settlement Body established a panel. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, the European Union, Guatemala, Japan and Viet Nam have reserved their third party rights.

Canada - Certain Measures Affecting the Renewable Energy Generation Sector (DS412)

At the request of Japan (DS412), a panel was established at the meeting of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body on 20 July 2011 concerning Canada's feed-in tariff programme for the renewable energy generation sector. Japan alleges this is a clear case of WTO-inconsistent domestic content requirements. Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, European Union, Korea, Honduras, Norway and the United States reserved their third party rights.

The panel expects to complete its work by the end of November 2012.

China – Certain Measures Affecting Electronic Payment Services (DS413)

On 25 March 2011 the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body established a panel to examine the United States' complaint concerning alleged market access restrictions and requirements imposed on service suppliers of other WTO Members seeking to supply electronic payment services in China. The panel was composed on 5 July 2011. Australia, as well as Ecuador, the European Union, Guatemala, Japan, and Korea reserved their rights to participate as third party in this dispute.

Australia lodged its first third party written submission in Geneva on 18 October 2011.

Australia's third party written submission in DS413

The Panel's first meeting with the parties was held on 26 and 27 October 2011.

Australia's oral statement in the first panel hearing in DS413

Australia lodged its responses to questions from the panel on 11 November 2011.

Australia’s responses to the panel’s formal questions in DS413

On 16 July 2012, the panel report was circulated to Members.

Philippines — Taxes on Distilled Spirits (DS396/DS403)

On 19 January 2010 the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body established a panel to examine the European Union's complaint (DS396) concerning the Philippines' current excise tax regime on distilled spirits, which has been in place since 1997. Australia has joined the dispute as a third party along with China, Chinese Taipei, Mexico, Thailand and the United States. On 20 April 2010, the DSB also agreed to refer the United States' complaint over the same measures to the panel established in relation to the European Union's complaint. Those third parties (including Australia) who had reserved their rights in relation to the European Union dispute were accorded third party status in respect of the United States dispute. In addition, the European Union and India reserved their third party rights in respect of the United States dispute. On 5 July 2010, the Director-General composed the panel.

Australia lodged its first third party written submission in Geneva on 25 October 2010 and an executive summary of the submission on 1 November 2010.

The Panel circulated its report to Members on 15 August 2011.

The Philippines notified its intention to appeal on 23 September 2011. On 28 September 2011, the European Union also notified its decision to appeal to the Appellate Body certain issues arising from the panel's report. Australia filed a third participant submission on 14 October 2011. Australia appeared at the oral hearing in the appeal, which was held on 25 October 2011, in Geneva.

The Appellate Body issued its report on 21 December 2011.

European 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 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 but failed to resolve the dispute. To date, none of the parties have requested the establishment of a panel.

At the regular meeting of the WTO’s 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 Hormones dispute between the European Communities and the United States. On 20 January 2010, Australia was granted access to this quota.

For more information see:

European Communities — 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 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. A panel was established in November 2009. Australia has joined this dispute as a third party.

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

On 24 October 2008, Mexico requested consultations with the United States in relation to certain measures taken by the latter concerning the importation, marketing and sale of tuna and tuna products. The consultations, to which Australia was a third party, failed to resolve the dispute. At its meeting on 20 April 2009, the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body established a panel. Australia joined the dispute as a third party along with Argentina, China, Ecuador, the European Communities, Guatemala, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and Turkey. Brazil, Canada, Thailand and Venezuela subsequently reserved their third party rights. On 14 December 2009, the Director-General composed the panel.

Australia lodged its first written third party submission in Geneva on 28 April 2010.

Australia's first written third party submission in DS381

The panel's first meeting with the parties was held on 19 and 20 October 2010.

Australia lodged its responses to questions from the panel on 4 November 2010.

Australia's responses to the panel's formal questions in DS381

On 15 September 2011, the panel report was circulated to Members.

The United States and Mexico lodged appeals on 20 and 25 January 2012 respectively. Australia filed a third participant submission on 10 February 2012. Australia appeared at the oral hearing in the appeal, which was held on 15-16 March 2012, in Geneva.

The Appellate Body report was circulated on 16 May 2012, and adopted by the DSB on 13 June 2012.

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 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 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 decision.

Australia appeared at both hearings in the appeal, which was held from 11 to 17 November 2010 and 9 to 14 December 2012, 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 DSB 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’s Dispute Settlement Body agreed to refer to the original panel, if possible, the matter raised by the United States pertaining to this dispute. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, and Japan reserved their third party rights. On 17 April 2012, the compliance panel was composed.

United States — Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements (DS384 & DS386)

At the request of Canada (DS384) and Mexico (DS386), a panel was established at the meeting of the DSB on 19 November 2009 concerning US regulations requiring the mandatory country of origin labelling of certain 'covered' agricultural products. Covered commodities are beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goat meat, perishable agricultural commodities, peanuts, pecans, ginseng and macadamia nuts. On 10 May 2010, the Director-General composed the panel. Of interest, the parties to the dispute have requested that the panel proceedings be open to the public.

Australia joined the dispute as a third party. Argentina, Brazil, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, the European Union, Guatemala, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Peru have also joined as third parties. In response to Australia's request, enhanced third party rights were granted to all third parties.

Australia lodged its first written third party submission in Geneva on 18 August 2010; and an executive summary of the submission on 7 September 2010.

The first panel hearing was held in Geneva on 14-15 September 2010.

Australia's oral statement at first panel hearing in DS384 and DS386

The panel's formal questions to parties and third parties were communicated on 20 September 2010 and Australia lodged its responses on 4 October 2010.

Australia's responses to the panel's formal questions in DS384 and DS386

The second and final panel hearing was held in Geneva on 1-2 December 2010.

The panel's formal questions to parties and third parties following the second panel hearing were communicated on 6 December 2010 and Australia lodged its responses on 17 December 2010.

The panel report was released on 18 November 2011.

The United States lodged an appeal on 23 March 2012. Australia participated as a third participant at the hearing on 2-3 May 2012.

The Appellate Body issued its report on 29 June 2012, and the report was adopted by the DSB on 23 July 2012.

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

The European Communities (as it then was) 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 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 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 DSB on 23 March 2012.

United States — Domestic Support and Export Credit Guarantees for Agricultural Products (DS357 and DS365)

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. 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.

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