Australia and WTO Dispute Settlement Bulletin

March 2004

Recent Developments

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

The Panel report in this dispute was issued on 24 March, finding in favour of Canada's claims that USITC determinations with regard to Canadian softwood lumber were inconsistent with obligations arising from both Anti-Dumping and Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreements. The Panel found that the USITC determination with regard to the threat of material injury to an industry in the US was erroneous. Accordingly, the decision to issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders on the basis of that determination was likewise inconsistent with the Agreements. The EC, Japan and Korea were third parties to this dispute, initiated by Canada in late 2002. The Panel's report is available on the WTO website.

Mexico: Measures Affecting Telecommunications Services (WT/DS204)

The Panel issued its report in this dispute to WTO Members on 2 April. The US was successful in a number of its claims that Mexico was in breach of its GATS commitments with regard to the activities of dominant Mexican telecommunications carrier Telmex. Australia was a third party to this dispute. The Panel's report is available on the WTO website.

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

The Panel held its first oral hearings in Geneva from 30 March to 1 April. A record number of third parties participated. See a summary of Australia's first written submission, together with Australia's opening and closing statements. The Panel is scheduled to report towards the end of 2004.

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

The Panel report in this dispute was issued to WTO Members on 6 April. The Panel found that the United States was successful with regard to its claims concerning the treatment of imported grain, but unsuccesful in its complaint concerning the activities of the Canadian Wheat Board. See Australia's third party submission in this dispute. The Panel's report is available on the WTO website.

Australia as a Complainant

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

The parties to the arbitration proceeding which will determine the level of retaliation permitted against the United States have made their submissions. The arbitrator's award is expected in early June 2004. Eight of the eleven complainants in this dispute (not including Australia) requested authorisation to retaliate against the United States in January. Australia has agreed to allow the United States 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 Panel, which was composed by WTO Director-General Dr Supachai late in January 2004, is expected to report on this dispute late in 2004. This dispute involves complaints by Australia and the US with regard to the WTO consistency of the EC regime for the protection of geographical indications for foodstuffs and agricultural products in the EC. A number of WTO Members have reserved rights as third parties to the dispute. See relevant Australian submissions.

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 was established in November 2003 but not yet 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)

The Panel in this dispute was composed in early March, in response to a request from the complainants (the United States, Canada and Argentina). 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)

The Panel report is expected to be issued mid 2004. See Australia's third party submissions.

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)

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.

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

Japan and the United States have agreed that the "reasonable period of time" for implementation of the recommendations and rulings of the Dispute Settlement Body will expire on 30 June 2004. The Panel and Appellate Body reports in this dispute were adopted on 10 December 2003.

Meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body

General DSB Meeting - 19 March

The Chairmanship of the DBS was formally handed over to Kenyan Ambassador Amina Mohamed. Two new panels were established at the 19 March meeting. Korea requested the establishment of a panel in relation to its complaint against the EC with regard to measures affecting trade in commercial vessels (WT/DS307). China, Japan and the US reserved third party rights. The EC requested the establishment of a panel to examine the WTO consistency of US so-called "zeroing" methodology with regard to the calculation of dumping margins (WT/DS294). Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway and Chinese Taipei reserved third party rights.

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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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