Australia and WTO dispute settlement

Monthly Bulletin
March-May 2007

In this issue


Australia as a Complainant

There are no current disputes at panel or appellate body phase in which Australia is a complainant although in some instances, there is disagreement whether implementation is completed.

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

No new developments. On 8 June 2006, Australia and the European Communities (EC) notified the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of an understanding reached by the two parties on the dispute. Given the disagreement between Australia and the EC as to whether the EC had fully implemented the recommendations and rulings of the DSB within the reasonable period of time, the agreement sets out the procedural steps to be taken by the parties in the event that compliance proceedings are instituted under Article 21.5 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). Brazil and Thailand, the other parties to the dispute, also entered into similar agreements with the European Communities.

The EC was required to implement the recommendations and rulings of the DSB by 22 May 2006 – the reasonable period of time for implementation as determined by an arbitrator under Article 21.3(c) of the DSU. The Appellate Body and Panel Reports in this dispute were adopted by the DSB in May 2005. The Appellate Body upheld Australia's (and Brazil's and Thailand's) challenge to the EC’s sugar export subsidies, ruling that all EC sugar exports were subsidised and that the EC was not entitled to exclude any of those quantities nor any budgetary outlays on export subsidies from its WTO-scheduled export subsidy commitments. As a result of the dispute, EC is required to reduce its subsidised exports of sugar to its WTO-scheduled limits of 1.273 million tonnes a year and its annual expenditure on sugar export subsidies to 499.1 million Euros.

See: Understanding between Australia and the European Communities on European Communities – Export Subsidies on Sugar (WT/DS265/36) [ PDF ]

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 at the request of the Philippines 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)

The EC requested consultations with Australia regarding our quarantine regime for imports in April 2003. A WTO dispute settlement panel was established in November 2003, but was not composed. Settlement of the dispute was notified to the WTO on 9 March 2007.

Australia as a Third Party: Selected Disputes

India — Measures Affecting the Importation and Sale of Wines and Spirits from the European Communities (WT/DS352)

On 20 November 2006, the European Communities (EC) requested consultations with India regarding duties applied by India which, in the EC's view, adversely affect exports of wines and spirits from the European Communities to India. On 23 March 2007, the European Communities requested the establishment of a panel. Australia joined the dispute as a third party.

China : Measures Affecting Imports of Automobile Parts (WT/DS339, DS340 and DS342)

At the request of the EC, the US and Canada, a single panel was established at the 26 October 2006 Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting.  Australia along with Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Argentina joined as third parties. See: October Bulletin.

Australia delivered a statement to the Panel at the oral hearing for third parties on 23 May 2007. Copies of Australia’s statement are available upon request (to wto.disputes@dfat.gov.au).

Turkey:  Measures Affecting the importation of rice (WT/DS334)

No new developments. Australia made an oral statement to the Panel at the third party hearing on 9 November 2006. The Panel’s report is expected to be publicly issued in mid 2007.

See: Oral Statement by Australia to the Panel [ PDF ]

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

No new developments. The final Panel report was publicly released on 29 September 2006 and was adopted at the DSB regular meeting on 21 November. At the DSB meeting on 19 December 2006, the EC announced its intention to implement the ruling in a manner consistent with its WTO obligations. However, the EC indicated that it would need a reasonable period of time for implementation as envisaged by Article 21.3(b) of the DSU.

United States/Canada: Continued Suspension of Obligations in the EC Hormones Dispute (WT/DS320 and WT/DS321)

No new developments. The Panel estimates that it will issue its final report to the parties in the course of June 2007.

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

No new developments. An Article 21.5 panel was established in September 2006 to determine the existence or consistency of measures taken by the United States to comply with the recommendations and rulings of the DSB in this dispute.  See: September Bulletin.

Australia lodged its third party written submission on 5 January 2007.  Oral hearings took place on 27-28 February.  The report of the compliance panel is expected to be circulated at the end of 2007.

See: Oral statements by Australia to the Panel and Appellate Body [ PDF ]

European Communities and Certain Member States/United States:  Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft (WT/DS316 and WT/DS317)

The panels examining EC (DS316) and US (DS317) measures are continuing their work. The second proceedings that had arisen as part of US (DS317) has been renumbered and constitutes a separate dispute, numbered WT/DS353 - see item below.

The Panel in DS316 issued a revised timetable following suspension of the second Panel (WT/DS347 - the work of this panel remains suspended) - see item below. 

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and Korea have joined as third parties in the dispute.  Australia lodged its third party written submission on 7 May 2007.

European Communities and Certain Member States: Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft (Second Complaint) (WT/DS347)

No new developments. This Panel suspended its work in October 2006.

United States:  Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft (Second Complaint) (WT/DS353)

No new developments. This case arose from the proceedings in DS317 - see item above. During the proceedings before the Panel in DS317, the US claimed that certain matters which formed part of the Panel request by the EC had not been the subject of consultations. The EC therefore issued a further request for consultations to the US on 1 July 2005, and made a formal request for the establishment of a Panel on 23 January 2006. On 4 and 8 December 2006 the DSB renamed and renumbered these proceedings as DS353. The Panel has since issued a revised timetable and working procedures.

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and Korea have joined as third parties in the dispute.

Brazil – Measures Affecting Imports of Retreaded Tyres (WT/DS332)

No new developments. Australia made a brief third partyoral statement to the Panel inJuly 2006 - see July 2006 Bulletin. The Panel’s report is expected in June 2007.

Chile – Price Band System and Safeguard Measures Relating to Certain Agricultural Products –Recourse to Article 21.5 (WT/DS207)

The report of the Appellate Body was issued 7 May 2007. The full report is available on the WTO website.

Meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB)

Next DSB Meetings

The next regular meeting of the DSB is scheduled to take place on 20 June 2007.

WTO Dispute Settlement: Developments of Interest

The following reports were circulated in the period March-May:

United States — Measures affecting the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services (DS285). Panel report issued 30 March 2007. Panel report issued 30 March 2007.[ PDF ].

United States — Sunset Reviews of Anti-Dumping Measures on Oil Country Tubular Goods from Argentina (DS268) [ PDF ]. Appellate Body report issued 12 April 2007.

 “Chile — Price Band System and Safeguard Measures Relating to Certain Agricultural Products (Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Argentina)” (WT/DS207/AB/RW) [ PDF ]. Appellate Body report issued 7 May 2007.

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