Australia and WTO dispute settlement

Monthly Bulletin
November 2006

In this issue


Australia as a Complainant

There are no current disputes at panel or appellate body phase in which Australia is a complainant.

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)

No new developments. A panel was established in November 2003 at the request of the European Communities but has not yet been composed.

Australia as a Third Party: Selected Disputes

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

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 ]

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

Australia made an oral statement to the Panel at the third party hearing on 9 November 2006.

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)

The final Panel report was publicly released on 29 September 2006 and was adopted at the DSB regular meeting on 21 November.

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

No new developments. At the request of the parties in the disputes, the Panels opened their proceedings with the parties and scientific experts on 27-28 September and with the parties on 2-3 October for observation by WTO Members and the general public.

European Communities: Selected Customs Matters (WT/DS315)

The Appellate Body report was issued on 13 November and is available on the WTO website [ PDF ].

See: Oral statement by Australia to the Appellate Body [ PDF ].

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

No new developments. On 28 September 2006, the Disputes Settlement Body (DSB) granted Brazil's request for the establishment of an Article 21.5 panel 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.

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

No new developments. 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 Mexico, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Argentina joined as third parties. See: October Bulletin.

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 Panel in DS316 has issued a revised timetable following suspension of the second Panel (WT/DS347) - see item below. 

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and Korea have reserved their third party rights in both disputes.

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

No new developments. The second panel requested by the United States to examine additional EC measures was established on 9 May 2006 (see May 2006 Bulletin).  The Panel was composed on 17 July 2006 and an organizational timetable was agreed between the parties.  On 6 October 2006 the United States requested the Panel to suspend its work, in accordance with Article 12.12 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). The Panel agreed to this request.

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

No new developments. Australia made a brief oral statement to the Panel at the Third Party Session on 6 July 2006 - see July 2006 Bulletin. The Panel’s report is expected in early 2007.

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

No new developments. An oral hearing for third parties took place on 2 August. Australia made an oral statement. The Panel is expected to complete its work by late 2006.

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

Meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB)

At the DSB regular meeting on 21 November the Panel’s report in the GMO case was adopted (European Communities:  Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products (WT/DS291/R, WT/DS292/R, WT/DS293/R). The DSB also established a panel to examine the US customs bond directive as the result of a second request by India.

Further information on DSB proceedings is available on the WTO website.

Next DSB Meetings

The next regular meeting of the DSB is scheduled to take place on 19 December 2006.

WTO Dispute Settlement: Developments of Interest

The following reports were circulated in November:

United States - Sunset Reviews of Anti-Dumping Measures on Oil Country Tubular Goods from Argentina (WT/DS268/RW), Panel report, issued 30 November 2006. The full report is available on the WTO website.

European Communities - Selected Customs Matters” (WT/DS315/AB/R), Appellate Body Report, issued 13 November 2006. The full report is available on the WTO website. [ PDF ]

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