Australia and WTO dispute settlement

Monthly Bulletin
October 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

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

No new developments. A panel was composed on 31 July 2006 and will conduct hearings in November 2006.

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.  Parties have 60 days to lodge an appeal.

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

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)

No new developments.The Panel’s decision was circulated on 16 June 2006.  The United States and European Communities both appealed the Panel’s decision and an Appellate Body hearing took place on 28-29 September. The Appellate Body decision reviewing the Panel decision is expected in November 2006.

See: July 2006 Bulletin for a summary of the Panel decision.

See: Oral statement by Australia to the Appellate Body

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 (US) 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)

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.  In April 2006, each complainant filed requests for consultations with China about China’s measures affecting imports of automobile parts.  Joint consultations were held in Geneva on 11 – 12 May 2006 and Australia, Japan and Mexico attended as third parties to those consultations.  The complainants claim that China imposes a charge on imported auto parts that is equal to the higher tariff on completed motor vehicles where the imported auto parts constitute a certain percentage of a vehicle that is assembled within China.  In particular, they submit that the disputed measures breach the GATT rules against discriminatory taxation, the prohibition against subsidies contingent on local content under the SCM Agreement, China’s Schedule of Concessions, China’s Protocol of Accession, and the TRIMS Agreement.

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

The panel examining EC measures is continuing its work on the basis of a revised timetable and following suspension of the second panel (WT/DS347) - see item below. 

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

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

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 its meeting on 26 October, the DSB established three panels to examine, respectively, China’s measures on auto parts, US measures on shrimp from Thailand, and US anti-dumping measures on steel from Mexico. The US blocked the first-time request by India for a panel to examine the US customs bond directive.

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 21 November 2006.

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