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Australia and WTO dispute settlement

Monthly Bulletin
February 2005

In this issue


Recent Developments

US - Countervailing Duty Investigation on Dynamic Random Access Memory Semiconductors (DRAMS) from Korea (WT/DS296)

T he Panel's report in this dispute was circulated on 21 February 2005. The dispute concerns a countervailing duty investigation by the United States on imports of DRAMS from Korea. Korea alleged that determinations by the United States Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission, and the imposition of a countervailing duty order, were inconsistent with provisions of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures ("SCM Agreement"). The Panel ruled that the United States' imposition of countervailing duties on DRAMS from Korea violated obligations under the SCM. The Panel's report is available on the WTO website.

Japan - Import Quotas on Dried Laver and Seasoned Laver (WT/DS323)

At the DSB's February meeting, Korea requested the establishment of a panel to consider Japanese import quotas on dried laver (a type of seaweed) and seasoned laver. Japan exercised its right to block this first panel request.

United States - Measures Relating to Zeroing and Sunset Reviews (WT/DS322)

At a 28 February special DSB meeting, a panel was established at Japan's request to examine the alleged WTO inconsistency of the United States' "zeroing" methodology used for calculating dumping margins. The European Communities, Hong Kong, India, Korea and Mexico have reserved third party rights. At the DSB's 17 February meeting, the United States had exercised its right to block Japan's first panel request.

United States - Investigation of the International Trade Commission in Softwood Lumber from Canada (WT/DS277)

An Article 21.5 panel was established at Canada's request at a special DSB Meeting held on 25 February, with the European Communities joining as a third party.

Australia as a Complainant

European Communities: Export Subsidies on Sugar (WT/DS265/R)

No new developments. The Appellate Body will conduct hearings in this dispute in early March, with the Appellate Body's report to be issued in late April 2005. As background, the European Communities notified the DSB in January of its decision to appeal. Australia has notified its decision to cross appeal. Brazil and Thailand also cross-appealed on the same grounds. Australia seeks appellate review of the Panel's decision to exercise judicial economy in declining to examine Australia's claims under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures ("SCM Agreement"). Copies of the European Communities' appeal notice and Australia's cross appeal notice are available on the WTO website. Australia's cross-appeal submission is posted on the DFAT website.

Earlier, the Panel (in a report issued on 15 October 2004) found in favour of the complainants, Australia, Brazil and Thailand, holding that the export subsidy schemes on sugar granted by the European Communities are in breach of the EC's obligations for the reduction of such subsidies under the Agriculture Agreement. Australia's submissions at the Panel stage are available at: Australia and WTO Dispute Settlement

European Communities: Protection of Trademarks and Geographical Indications for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs(WT/DS290)

No new developments. The Panel's report was issued to the parties (Australia, the United States and the European Communities) on a confidential basis in December 2004. The Panel report is expected to be publicly released in March 2005. This dispute involves complaints by Australia and the United States with regard to the WTO consistency of the European Communities' regime for the protection of geographical indications for foodstuffs and agricultural products in the European Communities. Australian submissions to the Panel, including written submissions and oral statements made to the Panel and answers to Panel questions are available at: Australia and WTO Dispute Settlement. There is also a set of frequently asked questions available.

Australia as a Respondent

Australia: Certain Measures Affecting the Importation of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (WT/DS270)

No new developments. (A panel was established in August 2003 but has not yet been composed.)

Australia: Certain Measures Affecting the Importation of Fresh Pineapple Fruit (WT/DS/271)

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 was established in November 2003 but has not yet been composed.)

Selected disputes involving Australia as a Third Party

Canada: Measures Relating to Exports of Wheat (WT/DS276)

No new developments.

Japan: Measures Affecting the Importation of Apples (WT/DS245)

No new developments.

European Communities: Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products (WT/DS291, 292 and 293)

No new developments.

United States: Subsidies on Upland Cotton (WT/DS267)

The Appellate Body's report was issued on 3 March 2005. This dispute concerns a challenge by Brazil with regard to US cotton subsidies under the Agriculture Agreement, the Subsidies Agreement and GATT 1994. Trade Minister Mark Vaile's media release is available. The Appellate Body's report is available on the WTO website. Australia's submissions to the Panel and the Appellate Body are available.

European Communities: Continued Suspension of Obligations in the EC Hormones Dispute (WT/DS320 and WT/DS321)

Panels were established at the 17 February DSB meeting at the request of the EC in these two separate but related disputes. The disputes relate to the legitimacy of the continued retaliation by the United States and Canada, despite European Communities claims of compliance with the findings in the EC - Hormones disputes. Australia has joined the dispute as a third party.

United States: Tax Treatment for "Foreign Sales Corporations" (WT/DS108)

A panel was established at the 17 February DSB meeting at the request of the European Communities (in a second recourse to DSU Article 21.5) to examine the consistency of US measures replacing FSC export subsidy measures relating to agriculture and manufactured products previously found to be WTO inconsistent. Australia has joined the dispute as a third party.

Meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body

DSB Meeting - 17 February 2005

At the 17 February DSB meeting panels were established at the request of the European Communities against ongoing US and Canadian retaliation in the Beef Hormones disputes and to examine US implementation in the FSC dispute. Australia joined each of these disputes as a third party. First panel requests from Japan on United States zeroing practices and from Korea over Japanese import quotas on laver were blocked by the respondent parties.

Special DSB Meetings

A special DSB meeting was held on 25 February to consider Canada's request for an Article 21.5 panel in the US Softwood Lumber dispute. On 28 February, a special DSB meeting considered Japan's request for the establishment of a panel in relation to the US - Zeroing and Sunset Reviews dispute.

The next regular DSB Meeting will be held on 21 March 2005.

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