DS595: European Union — Safeguard Measures on Certain Steel Products
Turkey submitted its second request for the establishment of a panel to rule on provisional and definitive safeguard measures imposed by the European Union on imports of certain steel products and the investigation that led to the imposition of those measures. Turkey’s first request was blocked by the EU at a DSB meeting on 29 July. Turkey reiterated its belief that the measures are inconsistent with several of the EU’s obligations under the WTO’s Safeguards Agreement.
The EU said it regrets that Turkey has once again requested the establishment of a panel and said it firmly believes its measures are justified and in line with WTO rules.
The DSB agreed to the establishment of a panel. The United States, Switzerland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Russia, Argentina, Canada, China, Korea, Japan, Brazil, and India all reserved their third party rights to participate in the proceedings.
DS511: China — Domestic Support for Agricultural Producers
China submitted its first request for a dispute panel to determine whether it has complied with a WTO ruling regarding China’s domestic support for agricultural producers. China said that it has adopted measures on minimum procurement prices for wheat and rice that have brought it in full compliance with the panel ruling. The United States claims China has failed to comply but has refused to secure a WTO panel ruling to affirm this claim, China said, instead requesting the right to retaliate against China for its alleged non-compliance. China has therefore taken this step to ensure a proper review of its compliance and asked that WTO arbitration proceedings on the US request to retaliate be suspended pending completion of these proceedings.
The United States said it was not in a position to agree to China’s request for a panel. China continues to provide a significant level of support to agricultural producers and the measures notified by China in June do not in themselves demonstrate that China now provides a level of domestic support within its WTO limits. The US said it has paused the arbitration proceedings and understands that China is not seeking further litigation but is requesting the compliance panel to preserve its rights.
The DSB agreed to revert to the matter should a requesting member wish to do so.
DS234: United States – Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000
The European Union reiterated its request that the United States cease transferring anti-dumping and countervailing duties to the US domestic industry, arguing that every such disbursement was a clear act of non-compliance with the rulings on this matter. Canada supported the EU statement, while the United States said it has taken all actions necessary to implement the ruling.
DS316: European Communities and Certain Member States – Measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft: Implementations of the recommendations adopted by the DSB
The European Union said additional and extraordinary compliance measures have been adopted that withdraw all remaining subsidies for the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The additional measures, in the form of amended loan agreements provided by the French and Spanish governments for the development of the new Airbus A350XWB, go beyond what is necessary to ensure compliance and are an effort to persuade rational and reasonable stakeholders in the US that now is a time to draw a line under these disputes. It is not in the interest of anyone that the EU and the United States now proceed to, or continue, mutually assured retaliation, the EU said.
The United States said it disagrees that the EU has achieved full compliance. Six of the eight EU launch aid subsidies that a WTO compliance panel found continue to cause adverse effects are not addressed by these new measures, and the changes to the French and Spanish launch aid loans are marginal and insufficient to withdraw the subsidies. The US said it intends to begin a new process with the EU in an effort to reach an agreement that will remedy the conduct that harmed the US aviation industry and workers and will ensure a level playing field for US companies.
DS371 Thailand – Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines
The chair of the DSB reported to members that intensive consultations with the Philippines and Thailand were still ongoing with regards to resolving their differences in a dispute over the next steps in the DS371 proceedings.
Both the Philippines and Thailand made statements which reiterated positions outlined at previous DSB meetings. Japan and the EU also took the floor on the matter.
Appellate Body appointments
Mexico, speaking on behalf of 121 members, introduced once again the group’s proposal to start the selection processes for six vacancies in the Appellate Body. The extensive number of members submitting the proposal reflects a common concern over the current situation in the Appellate Body that is seriously affecting the overall WTO dispute settlement system against the best interest of members, Mexico said for the group.
The United States reiterated that it was still not in a position to support the proposal to start the selection process because its systemic concerns regarding the Appellate Body remain unaddressed. Instead, members should consider how to achieve meaningful reform of the dispute settlement system. The US said it was determined to ensure that the dispute settlement system reinforces the WTO’s critical negotiating and monitoring functions and does not undermine these functions by overreaching and gap filling.
Nearly 20 members took the floor to reiterate the importance of resolving the impasse over the appointment of new members as soon as possible and re-establishing a functioning Appellate Body. These members noted that the absence of a functioning Appellate Body was preventing an increasing number of WTO members from exercising their rights to impartial and binding dispute settlement through a two-tiered system. Several of the 23 WTO member participants in the new multi-party interim appeal arrangement (MPIA) urged other members to consider this temporary arbitration mechanism as an alternative means of addressing the current absence of appellate review.
Surveillance of implementation
The United States presented status reports with regard to DS184, “US — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Products from Japan”, DS160, “United States — Section 110(5) of US Copyright Act”, DS464, “United States — Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Measures on Large Residential Washers from Korea”, and DS471,”United States — Certain Methodologies and their Application to Anti-Dumping Proceedings Involving China.”
The European Union presented a status report with regard to DS291, “EC — Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products.”
The Russian Federation made a statement regarding the European Union’s appeal of the panel ruling in in DS494 (EU — Cost Adjustment Methodologies and Certain Anti-Dumping Measures on Imports from Russia). Russia said it was disappointed with the EU’s decision and that that the EU’s action, in the absence of a functioning Appellate Body, essentially meant that the matter was being appealed “into the void.” The EU was seeking to escape its obligations by not trying to resolve the dispute, Russia said.
India made a statement criticizing complainants in DS582 and DS588 for requesting the WTO Director-General step in appoint panelists for the two disputes. India said parties in a dispute should work together at every stage of a dispute and that agreement of the parties to the selection of a slate of panelists is an entrenched principle aimed at securing the legitimacy of panels. The EU and Chinese Taipei said the complaining members were entitled to ask the Director-General to compose the panels since they respected the minimum 20-day period for seeking an agreement with India on the panel slate.
The next meeting of the DSB will take place on 28 September.