Australia and WTO dispute settlement

Monthly Bulletin
January 2004

In this issue


Recent Developments

United States: Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (the “Byrd Amendment”) (WT/DS217 and WT/DS234)

Australia has agreed to allow the United States until 27 December 2004 to bring its Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (known as the “Byrd Amendment”) into compliance with its WTO obligations. The US has agreed to continue its efforts in this respect. Thailand and Indonesia have also entered into similar agreements with the US. In the meantime, eight of the ten other co-complainants in this dispute have requested authorisation to retaliate against the US. Owing to the US objections as to the level of retaliation proposed, these requests will be referred to arbitration. The arbitrator’s decision is expected over the next few weeks.

United States – Final Countervailing Duty Determination With Respect to Certain Softwood Lumber Products from Canada (WT/DS257)

On 19 January the WTO Appellate Body circulated its report in this dispute, upholding the findings of the Panel that the US was not in violation of the Subsidies Agreement and related GATT provisions in its determination that Canadian softwood lumber producers were receiving subsidies. The Appellate Body did however reverse some of the Panel’s findings with regard to the “benefit” conferred by the subsidy and recommended that the DSB request the US to bring measures found inconsistent into conformity with its obligations under the relevant Agreements. Canada brought this complaint in 2002, alleging that countervailing duties imposed by the US against imports of Canadian softwood lumber were based on a WTO-inconsistent subsidy determination.

Australia as a Complainant

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.

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

No new developments. Discussions on panel composition are continuing.

United States: Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (the “Byrd Amendment”) (WT/DS217 and WT/DS234)

See item under “Recent developments”.

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 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 has been established but not yet composed.

Disputes Involving Australia as a Third Party

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

No new developments.  Discussions on panel composition are continuing. 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 (WT/DS276)

Media reporting suggests that the Panel issued its report to the parties in early February 2004. Public release of the report is expected to follow in coming weeks.  Australia’s third party submission in this dispute is available at:  http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/disputes/aust_3psub.html

US:  Subsidies on Upland Cotton (WT/DS267)

The panel report is expected to be issued mid 2004. Australia’s third party submissions to the Panel are available.

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 services.

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 its suspension.

United States: Section 110(5) Copyright Act (“Homestyle” exemption) (WT/DS160)

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 Sales Corporations” (WT/DS108)

No new developments.  The EC has adopted a scheme of countermeasures that would be imposed gradually from March 2004 onwards on US products 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 Settlement Body: January 2004

The next regular DSB meeting is scheduled for 17 February 2004.  

General DSB Meeting - 23 January

Two panels were established at this meeting. Korea requested the establishment of panels in relation to its complaints against the EC (WT/DS299) and the United States (WT/DS296) with regard to countervailing duty investigations and countervailing measures on dynamic random access memory semiconductors (DRAMS) from Korea. Japan, China and Chinese Taipei reserved third party rights in both disputes and the EC and the United States reserved third party rights in the other’s dispute. For more detail on the 23 January DSB meeting, visit the WTO website.

Special DSB meetings – 9 and 26 January

At the request of Honduras, a panel was established in the matter of Dominican Republic – Measures affecting the importation and internal sale of cigarettes (WT/DS302) at the special 9 January DSB meeting. The DSB also adopted the Panel and Appellate Body reports in United States – Sunset review of anti-dumping duties on corrosion-resistant carbon steel flat products from Japan (WT/DS244). The 26 January special DSB meeting was devoted to eight requests for authorisation to retaliate against the United States in the “Byrd Amendment” dispute.  The DSB granted authorisation to the complainants to suspend concessions or other obligations. The amount in which retaliation is authorised will be determined by arbitration over the next few weeks. For more detail on the 9 January DSB meeting, see the WTO website and for the 26 January meeting.


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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.

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