Australia and WTO Dispute Settlement Bulletin

July 2004

Recent Developments

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

The Panel Report was appealed and the WTO Appellate Body is currently considering the issues raised in the appeal. In its report issued on 6 April (available on the WTO website), the Panel found that the United States was successful with regard to most of its claims concerning the treatment of imported grain, but unsuccessful with regard to the Canadian Wheat Board export regime. The United States and Canada appealed different aspects of the the Panel's findings with regard to the export regime. Australia lodged a third party submission in the appeal and participated in the oral hearing before the Appellate Body, held on 12 July in Geneva. The WTO Appellate Body report is expected to be released in late August.

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

An Article 21.5 compliance panel was established at the DSB meeting on 30 July. The US is challenging Japan's compliance with the DSB rulings against Japanese quarantine measures on US apple imports. The Panel and Appellate Body reports in this dispute were adopted by the DSB on 10 December 2003. (The compliance panel will examine the WTO consistency of Japan's revised measures.) Simultaneously, the US requested DSB authorisation to retaliate against Japan for non-compliance in this dispute, at a level of USD143 million. Japan has objected to the proposed level of retaliation, and the matter will be referred to arbitration pending the outcome of the compliance panel. Australia, together with the EC, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and China notified their third party interest in the dispute.

US: Determination of the International Trade Commission in Hard Red Spring Wheat from Canada (WT/DS310)

Canada withdrew its request for panel establishment in this case in order to avoid conflict with a parallel NAFTA panel on the same matter. Canada considers that the US has violated its obligations under the Anti-Dumping Agreement and the Subsidies Agreement as well as GATT 1994 in its injury determination. The US rejects this, noting the extensive evidence supporting the determination by the International Trade Commission.

Australia as a Complainant

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

No new developments. The arbitration proceeding which will determine the level of retaliation permitted against the United States was held in April. The arbitrator's award is expected shortly but a date has not yet been advised. Eight of the eleven complainants in this dispute (not including Australia) requested authorisation to retaliate against the US in January. Australia, Thailand and Indonesia have agreed to allow the US until 27 December 2004 to comply with the Panel and Appellate Body rulings.

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

The first hearing of the Panel was held in Geneva on 23 and 24 June and the second will be held in Geneva on 11 and 12 August. This dispute involves complaints by Australia and the United States with regard to the WTO consistency of the EC regime for the protection of geographical indications for foodstuffs and agricultural products in the EC. The Panel is expected to report on this dispute late in 2004.

European Communities: Export Subsidies on Sugar (WT/DS/265)

The second oral hearing before the Panel in Geneva concluded on 11 and 12 May.

The Panel is scheduled to report in September 2004.

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 that have involved Australia as a Third Party

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

No new developments. The first oral hearings in this dispute were held in Geneva on 2 and 3 June. The Panel will consider 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.

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

No new developments. The final Panel Report was released to the Parties, Brazil and the US, on 18 June. Media reporting suggests that the Panel ruled in Brazil's favour in this dispute. The Panel's report will be released to Third Parties and the public once it has been translated, this is expected at the end of August. This dispute concerns a challenge by Brazil with regard to US cotton subsidies under the Agriculture Agreement, the Subsidies Agreement and GATT 1994. The US has already indicated that it will appeal the panel ruling to the Appellate Body. Australia is one of thirteen third parties.

European Communities: Measures Affecting Meat and Meat Products (Hormones) (WT/DS26)

No new developments. 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: Tax Treatment for "Foreign Sales Corporations" (WT/DS108)

No new developments. The EC's programme of countermeasures 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 of 1% up to a ceiling of 17% to be attained on 1 March 2005 if the US has not complied with its WTO obligations before then.

Meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body

DSB Meetings - 20 July 2004  

At the 20 July meeting of the DSB Canada withdrew its request for the establishment of a panel

The next meeting of the DSB will be held on 31 August 2004.

 

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