Australia and WTO dispute settlement

Monthly Bulletin
September 2004

In this issue


Recent Developments

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

The Panel issued its final report to the parties on 8 September. This dispute concerns a challenge by Brazil with regard to US cotton subsidies under the Agriculture Agreement, the Subsidies Agreement and GATT 1994. The US has already indicated that it will appeal the panel ruling to the Appellate Body. Australia's submissions to the Panel are available at: http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/disputes/wto_subsidies_upland_cotton.html

Australia as a Complainant

European Communities: Protection of Trademarks and Geographical Indications for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs (WT/DS290)

Australia submitted its comments on the EC's replies to questions posed by the Panel and by Australia following the second Panel hearing on 2 September. This dispute involves complaints by Australia and the United States with regard to the WTO consistency of the EC regime for the protection of geographical indications for foodstuffs and agricultural products in the EC. The Panel has indicated that it will endeavour to issue its report before the end of the year. Australian submissions to the Panel, including written submissions and oral statements made to the Panel and answers to Panel questions are available at:

http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/disputes/290_protection_of_trademarks.html.

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

The Panel issued its final report to the parties (Australia, Brazil, Thailand and the EC) on 8 September. The report will remain confidential pending translation and public circulation. The public report is expected to be circuled around mid-October. Australia's responses to questions from the Panel and the EC, along with its rebuttal submission and oral statements, are available at :

http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/disputes/265_export_subsidies_sugar.html.

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

The arbitration award on the level of retaliation to be permitted against the United States by eight of the complainants (not including Australia) in the "Byrd Amendment" dispute was issued on 31 August. Australia, Thailand and Indonesia have agreed to allow the US until 27 December 2004 to comply with the Panel and Appellate Body rulings

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 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 but has not yet been composed.

Selected disputes that have involved Australia as a Third Party

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

The WTO Appellate Body report in this dispute was issued on 30 August, upholding the Panel's findings that the US had failed in its claim that activities of the Canadian Wheat Board contravened Canada's obligations under the GATT 1994. Canada did not appeal the Panel's findings that Canadian legislative measures on imported grain were in violation of Canada's obligations under GATT Article III. The Panel and Appellate Body reports were adopted at the DSB meeting of 27 September. Australia's third party submission in the appeal is available at

http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/disputes/aust_3psub_index.html.

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

An Article 21.5 compliance panel was established at the DSB meeting on 30 July. The US is challenging Japan's compliance with the DSB rulings against Japanese quarantine measures on US apple imports. The compliance panel will examine the WTO consistency of Japan's revised measures. Australia, the EC, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and China are third parties. A third party session will take place at the first Panel hearing on 28 October.

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

No new developments. ( The first oral hearings in this dispute were held in Geneva on 2 and 3 June. 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.) Australia's oral statement as a third party to the dispute is available at

http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/disputes/aust_gmo_3psub.html .

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)

No new developments. ( 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.)

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

See item in Recent Developments (above)

Meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body

DSB Meeting - 27 September 2004

Indonesia made a second request for the establishment of a panel to examine its complaint against Korea with regard to anti-dumping duties on imports of certain paper products (WT/DS312). The DSB established the panel, and the US, EC and China reserved third-party rights. The DSB also established a compliance panel, at the request of the EC, in the dispute US - Countervailing measures concerning certain products from the EC (WT/DS212). The EC is alleging that the US has not fully complied with Panel and Appellate Body rulings in this dispute, with regard to certain steel products from the EC.

The reports of the Panel and Appellate Body in Canada - Measures relating to exports of wheat and treatment of imported grain (WT/DS276) were adopted (see item under Selected Disputes involving Australia as a Third Party). The next meeting of the DSB will be held on 18 October 2004.

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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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