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

Updated July 2011

Australia as a defending party (respondent)

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 Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) established a panel on 21 January 2008 at New Zealand's request.

On 12 March 2008, the panel was composed of the following three individuals: Mr Attie Swart (Chair), Mr William Ehlers and Ms Kirsten Hillman.

Upon composition of the panel, Australia submitted a request for the panel to make a preliminary ruling as to whether New Zealand's panel request complied with the requirements of Article 6.2 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). The panel issued its preliminary ruling to the parties on 6 June 2008.

Australia lodged its first written submission in Geneva on 18 July 2008, in response to New Zealand's complainant submission.

Both parties participated in the first panel hearing in Geneva on 2-3 September 2008.

On 19 December 2008, Australia and New Zealand jointly advised the panel that New Zealand would no longer pursue its claim against one of the measures at issue, based on Australia's advice that it does not impose such a measure. See: Joint letter to the Panel.

In the first quarter of 2009, the panel consulted independent experts on the scientific and technical issues in this dispute, and both parties commented on the experts' replies.

Australia then lodged its rebuttal submission with the panel on 21 April 2009.

The meeting with the experts and the second oral hearing took place in Geneva on 30 June - 2 July 2009.

The panel issued its interim report to the parties, on a confidential basis, on 31 March 2010. In April, both Australia and New Zealand requested the panel to review certain aspects of its report before its finalisation. The panel then issued its final report to the parties on 27 May 2010, again on a confidential basis. The Panel report was then translated into the other two WTO languages (French and Spanish) and officially circulated to the WTO membership on 9 August 2010. The report can be viewed on the WTO website. On 10 August, the Australian Government announced that it would appeal the Panel's decision to the WTO Appellate Body (see media release: Australia to appeal WTO apples decision).

Australia lodged its notice of appeal and its Appellant Submission in Geneva on 31 August and 7 September 2010 respectively.

On 14 September 2010, the Appellate Body granted Australia and New Zealand's joint request that the oral hearing in the appellate proceedings be open to the public, agreeing that the modalities for the hearing suggested by Australia and New Zealand would operate to protect confidential information.

On 15 September 2010, New Zealand filed a cross appeal to the Appellate Body on certain issues of law covered in the panel report and certain legal interpretations developed by the panel. Australia lodged an appellee submission in Geneva on 27 September 2010, which responds to the New Zealand's cross-appeal on the limited issue of whether New Zealand's claim of 'undue delay' was within the Panel's term of reference.

Australia's appellee submission in DS367

The Appellate Body hearing took place in Geneva on 11-12 October 2010.

Australia's oral statement in the Appellate Body hearing in DS367

The Appellate Body issued its report on DS367 on 29 November 2010.

Appellate Body issues report on Australia-New Zealand apples dispute

On 30 November 2010, the Australian Government announced that it would proceed with a science-based review of the import policy for New Zealand apples.

Media release: Australia to review import risk analysis of New Zealand apples

The Appellate Body and Panel report on DS367, as modified by the Appellate Body, were adopted by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on 17 December 2010. The recommendations and rulings contained in those reports (as modified) are now binding upon Australia. New Zealand has agreed to a period for Australia to implement the findings, expiring on 17 August 2011.

On 4 May 2011, Biosecurity Australia released the draft report of a review of Australia’s import policy for New Zealand apples. The draft review responds to the ruling by the World Trade Organization on Australia’s measures affecting the importation of New Zealand apples. The period for the public to comment on the draft report expired on 4 July 2011.

Media release: Draft report of Australia's policy on New Zealand apples

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.

China – Certain Measures Affecting Electronic Payment Services (DS413)

On 25 March 2011 the 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 the European Union, Guatemala, Korea and Japan, have reserved their rights to participate as third party in this dispute.

Philippines — Taxes on Distilled Spirits (DS396/DS403)

On 19 January 2010 the DSB 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 automatically 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's first meeting with the parties was held on 17 and 18 November 2010.

Australia's third party oral statement in the first panel hearing in DS396/DS403

Australia lodged its responses to questions from the panel on 8 December 2010.

Australia's responses to the panel's formal questions in DS396/DS403

The Panel expects to issue its report in the first half of 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 SPS Agreement. 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 DSB 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 (PRTs) 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.

European Union — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Footwear from China (DS405)

A panel was established in May 2010 to consider the European Union's anti-dumping investigation into Chinese footwear imports. Australia joined this dispute as a third party, along with Vietnam, the United States, Turkey, Japan and Brazil. On 5 July 2010, the Director-General composed the panel. Australia has not made any third party submissions.

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 DSB 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

The Panel expects to issue its report in the first half of 2011.

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, in Geneva. Australia made the following submissions during the hearings.

Australia's additional memorandum first hearing [PDF 26 KB] | [Word 18 KB]

The Appellate Body released its report on 18 May 2011, and the report (available on the WTO website) was adopted by the DSB on 1 June 2011.

Thailand — Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines (DS371)

A panel was established on 17 November 2008 and later composed on 16 February 2009 to consider Thai customs duties and other fiscal measures imposed on imported Philippine cigarettes. Australia joined the dispute as a third party on the basis of systemic legal interests in the matters at issue. Other third parties are the European Communities, Chinese Taipei, the United States, China and India. The first meeting with the parties and the panel was held on 10-12 June 2009 and Australia delivered an oral statement at the third party session on 11 June 2009.

The panel report was publicly circulated on 15 November 2010. The report can be viewed on the WTO website.

Thailand lodged an appeal on 22 February 2011. Australia filed a third participant submission on 15 March 2011. Australia appeared at the oral hearing in the appeal, which was held from 18 to 19 April 2011, in Geneva.

The Appellate Body report was circulated on 17 June 2011 (available on the WTO website) and will be considered for adoption by the DSB at its meeting on 15 July 2011.

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 has joined the dispute as a third party on the basis of commercial and systemic legal interests. 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 is expected to issue its report by mid-2011.

United States — Definitive Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Duties on Certain Products from China (DS379)

On 19 September 2008, China requested consultations with the United States regarding the anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by the United States. A panel was established following China's second request on 20 January 2009.

Australia joined as a third party along with Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the European Communities, India, Kuwait, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Australia lodged its first written third party submission in Geneva on 5 June 2009.

Australia's first written third party submission in DS379 [PDF]

The first substantive meeting with the parties and third parties was held on 7-8 July 2009:

The Panel report was released on 22 October 2010.

China lodged an appeal on 1 December 2010. Australia participated as a third party at the hearing on 13-14 January 2011.

The Appellate Body issued its report on 11 March 2011.

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 have appealed aspects of the panel's findings.

Australia lodged its third participant submission in the Appellate Body hearing on 23 June 2011.

Australia’s third participant submission in the Appellate Body hearing in DS353

Executive Summary of Australia’s third participant written submission in the Appellate Body hearing in DS353

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 on the basis of systemic and commercial interests. 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.

Meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB)

The next regular meeting of the DSB will be held on 20 July 2011.

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