Skip to main content

WTO Dispute Settlement Bulletin

Australia as a defending party (respondent)

Australia's Involvement in Current WTO Disputes

Summary of Australia's involvement in disputes currently
before the World Trade Organization
. Updated 9 December
2008
.

Australia - Measures Affecting the Importation of Apples from New Zealand
(DS367)

New Zealand requested consultations with Australia on 31
August 2007 in relation to Australia's measures affecting
the importation of apples from New Zealand. Consultations were
held on 4 October 2007. The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB)
established a panel on 21 January 2008 at New Zealand's
request. In its statements to the DSB, Australia reiterated its
position that its measures are WTO-consistent and indicated its
preference to resolve the dispute bilaterally.

See: Australia's first statement to the DSB in
DS367

See: Australia's second statement to the DSB in
DS367

On 12 March 2008, the Panel was composed of the following
three individuals: Mr Attie Swart (Chair), Mr William Ehlers
and Ms Kirsten Hillman. Key dates in the panel process
include:

  • New Zealand's first written submission: 20 June
    2008
  • Australia's first written submission: 18 July
    2008
  • First Panel hearing: 2-3 September 2008 (Geneva)
  • Second Panel hearing: 28-30 April 2009 (Geneva)
  • Issue of the Panel's final report to parties:
    September 2009*

*(official circulation of the panel's final report to
the WTO Membership and general public will occur following its
translation into the WTO official languages)

Upon composition of the panel, Australia submitted a request
for the Panel to make a preliminary ruling as to whether New
Zealand's panel request complies with the requirements of
Article 6.2 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). The Panel issued its preliminary ruling to
the parties on 6 June 2008.

See: Australia's request for a preliminary ruling in
DS367 (word)
(rtf)
[ PDF ]
See: Australia's further submission on its request for a
preliminary ruling (word)
(rtf)
[ PDF ]
See: Australia's response to the submissions of
third parties in relation to Australia's request for a
preliminary ruling (word) (rtf) [ PDF ]
See: Preliminary ruling of the Panel

Australia lodged its first written submission in Geneva
on 18 July 2008, in response to New Zealand's complainant
submission.

See: Australia's first written submission in DS367
(word - 3.6MB) (rtf - 33.5MB) (pdf - 2.5MB)
See: Executive summary of Australia's first written submission in DS367 (word) (rtf) [ PDF ]

Australia participated in the first panel hearing in Geneva
on 2-3 September 2008.

See: Australia's opening statement in the first panel hearing
in DS367

See: Executive summary of Australia's opening
statement in the first panel hearing in DS367

See: Australia's closing statement in the first panel
hearing in DS367

See: Executive summary of Australia's closing
statement in the first panel hearing in DS367

The next stage in the dispute process will involve the Panel
consulting independent experts on the scientific and technical
issues involved. Australia is then required to file a rebuttal
submission in March 2009. It is expected that the second
Panel hearing in Geneva will be open to the public.

Australia - Certain Measures Affecting the Importation of Fresh Pineapple
Fruit (DS271)

The Philippines' request for consultations was received on
18 October 2002, and consultations were held in November 2002.
However, the Philippines has not moved to the next procedural
stage of requesting the establishment of a panel.

Australia - Certain Measures Affecting the Importation of Fresh Fruit and
Vegetables (DS270)

A panel was established on 29 August 2003 at the request of
the Philippines, however the dispute has not moved to the next
procedural stage of the appointment of panellists.

Australia as a Third Party

Australia often joins disputes as a third party when it has
commercial and/or legal interests in the matters in question.
This provides an opportunity to present our views to the panel
or Appellate Body.

China - Measures Affecting Trading Rights and Distribution
Services for Certain Publications and Audiovisual Entertainment
Products (DS363)

On 27 November 2007 the DSB established a panel to examine a
complaint by the United States concerning trading rights and
distribution services for publications, sound recordings and
audiovisual products in China. Australia has joined the dispute
as a third party because of commercial and systemic interests
in the matter at issue, together with Chinese Taipei, the
European Communities, Japan, and Korea. Australia, the EC,
Japan and Korea made oral statements to the Panel on 23 July
2008. Australia submitted responses to questions from the
Panel on 11 August 2008.

See: Media
Release by the Minister for Trade on DS363

See: Australia's Third Party Oral Statement in DS363 [ PDF ] (word) (rtf)
See: Australia's response to questions from the Panel in DS363

China - Measures Affecting the Protection and Enforcement
of Intellectual Property Rights (DS362)

On 25 September 2007, a panel was established to examine the
complaint by the United States regarding China's protection and
enforcement of intellectual property rights. Australia has
joined as a third party, as have Argentina, Brazil, Canada,
Chinese Taipei, the European Communities, India, Japan, Korea,
Mexico, Thailand and Turkey. Third parties, including
Australia, submitted written submissions on 26 March 2008.
Australia delivered an oral statement at the third party
hearing on 15 April 2008.

See: Australia's third party submission in DS362
[ PDF ]
(word)
(rtf)
See: Australia's third party oral statement in DS362
See:
Australia's Responses to Questions from the Panel in DS362
[ PDF ]
(word)
(rtf)

China - Measures Affecting Imports of Automobile Parts
(DS339, DS340 and DS342)

On 26 October 2006, the DSB established a panel to examine
the complaints by the European Communities, the United States
and Canada concerning China's measures affecting the
import of automobile parts. Argentina, Australia, Chinese
Taipei, Japan and Mexico joined as third parties.

The Panel released its report on 18 July 2008 and found that
charges applied by China on the imports of automobile parts
were an internal measure inconsistent with China's
national treatment obligations under Article III of the GATT
1994. The Panel also found that the charge
was a customs duty in excess of that provided for in
China's Schedule of Concessions inconsistent with Article
II of the GATT 1994. The Panel's report can be found at
the WTO website.

China has lodged an appeal against the Panel's
findings, which is currently being considered by the Appellate
Body. Australia lodged its third party written submission
on 10 October 2008. The Appellate Body's report
will likely be issued in early 2009.

See: Australia's response to panel questions in DS339, DS340
and DS342

See: Australia's third party oral statement in DS339, DS340
and DS342

European Communities – Tariff Treatment of Certain
Information Technology Products (DS375, DS376 & DS377)

On 23 September 2008 the DSB established a panel to examine
the complaints of the United States, Japan and Chinese Taipei
(DS375, DS376 & DS377 respectively) concerning the tariff
treatment of flat panel displays, set-top boxes with a
communication function and multifunctional digital
machines. Australia joined the dispute as a third party
on 2 October 2008. The dispute timetable will be
determined following panel composition.

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

The United States submitted a request for consultations on 6
October 2004 in relation to European Communities' and
Member State subsidies to the European large civil aircraft
sector, which the United States contends are inconsistent with
the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and GATT
1994 commitments. A panel was established on 20 July
2005. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan and
Korea reserved their third party rights. Australia lodged a
written submission with the Panel on 7 May 2007 and delivered
an oral statement to the Panel at the third party hearing on 24
July 2007. The Panel is expected to complete its report by the
end of 2008.

India - Additional and Extra-Additional Duties on Imports
from the United States (DS360)

On 6 March 2007 the United States requested consultations
with India in relation to additional duties and charges applied
by India to imports of United States' wines and distilled
products. The panel hearing took place on 17-19 September 2007,
to which Australia made a written and oral submission. The
report of the Panel was issued on 9 June 2008 and found that
the United States had failed to establish that India's
additional duties and charges on alcoholic liquor were
inconsistent with Article II:1(a) or (b) of the GATT 1994. The
United States informed the DSB of its decision to appeal the
report of the Panel on 1 August 2008. Australia provided a
third participant submission to the Appellate Body on 26 August
2008 and an oral statement at the hearing on 4 September 2008
in Geneva. Other third participants are Chile, the European
Communities, Japan and Vietnam. The Appellate Body issued its
report on 30 October. The full text of the report is available
on the WTO
website
. The Appellate Body ruling is significant in
that it explores more thoroughly several key GATT
Articles. These Articles (II and III) relate to the use
of border charges (customs duties or other duties or charges)
and the manner in which these charges may be offset against
internal taxes.

See: Australia's third party submission in DS360 [ PDF ]
See: Australia's third participant written submission
in DS360

See: Australia's third participant oral statement in
the appellate proceedings in DS360

Thailand– Customs and Fiscal Measures on
Cigarettes from the Philippines (DS371)

A panel was established on 17 November 2008 to consider
Thai customs duties and other fiscal measures imposed on
imported Philippine cigarettes. This is the first time a
panel will consider a Member's obligations under the WTO
Customs Valuation Agreement. Australia has joined the
dispute as a third party on the basis of systemic legal
interests in the matters at issue.

United States - Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil
Aircraft (Second Complaint) (DS353)

The European Communities requested consultations with the
United States in June 2005 regarding subsidies provided to the
United States large civil aircraft industry. A panel was
established in February 2006. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China,
Japan and Korea reserved their third party rights. Australia
lodged a written submission with the Panel on 1 October 2007
and delivered an oral statement to the Panel at the third party
hearing on 15 January 2008. The Panel is expected to complete
its report in 2009.

United States - Domestic Support and Export Credit
Guarantees for Agricultural Products (DS357 and
DS365)

A single dispute panel was established by the DSB on 17
December 2007 in relation to Canada and Brazil's dispute
with the United States on domestic support for agricultural
products. Australia has joined the dispute as a third party on
the basis of systemic and commercial interests. Other third
parties are Argentina, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, the
European Communities, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand,
Nicaragua, South Africa, and Thailand.

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

The European Communities requested consultations with the
United States and Canada on 8 November 2004; asserting the
United States and Canada had not removed retaliatory measures
following the European Communities' notification of its
removal of WTO-inconsistent measures in the original European Communities - Measures Concerning Meat and Meat
Products (Hormones)
disputes (DS26 & DS48). Australia
joined the disputes as a third party on 19 November 2004. Other
third parties were Brazil, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei,
India, New Zealand, Norway and Mexico.

The Panel reports were released on 31 March 2008.
Following appeals appeal by the United States, Canada and the
European Communities, the Appellate Body issued its reports on
16 October 2008. The Appellate Body found that, where
parties disagree on whether "the measure found to be
inconsistent with a covered agreement has been removed",
recourse should be had to panel proceedings under Article 21.5
of the DSU. Such proceedings can be initiated by either
the complaining or responding party. It therefore
recommended that the Dispute Settlement Body request the
parties to initiate 21.5 proceedings without delay.
Pending the outcome of those proceedings, the retaliation
imposed by the US and Canada remains in force.

The Appellate Body also made important findings on the
interpretation of the SPS Agreement, including on the selection
and use of experts and the appropriate standard of
review.

For the full Appellate Body reports see the WTO webpage.

See: Australia's third party submission in DS320 [ PDF ]
See: Australia's third party submission in DS321 [ PDF ]
See: Australia's third participant written submission the appellate proceedings DS320 & DS321
See: Australia's third participant oral statement in the appellate proceedings DS320 & DS321

Meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB)

At a meeting of the DSB on 14 November, the DSB adopted the
Panel and Appellate Body reports in the US &
Canada-Continued Suspension
disputes. The DSB Chair
announced the upcoming resignation of Brazilian Appellate Body
Member Luis Baptista, effective from February 2009.

At the regular meeting of the DSB on 17 November 2008, the
DSB established a panel in the Thailand – Customs and
Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines
dispute,
and the Panel and Appellate Body reports were adopted in the India – Additional and Extra-Additional Duties on
Imports from the United States
dispute.

The next regular meeting of the DSB will be held on 22
December 2008.

Archive

Read archived WTO dispute settlement bulletins and details of former disputes involving Australia. Note, the Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade no longer produces monthly WTO
dispute settlement bulletins.

Last Updated: 9 January 2013
Back to top