The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), on 31 August, established a panel to examine the complaint brought by Indonesia against the European Union over anti-dumping measures on biodiesel from Indonesia. Another three requests for a panel were initially rejected by the respondents
DS480: European Union — Anti-Dumping Measures on Biodiesel from Indonesia
Indonesia reiterated its concerns expressed at the July DSB meeting regarding the EU’s Basic Anti-Dumping Regulation and the anti-dumping measures imposed on biodiesel imports from Indonesia. Indonesia considered these measures to be inconsistent with the EU’s obligations under the WTO agreements and made the second request for a panel. The EU said that, as noted by Indonesia, the measures challenged were also subject to a dispute with Argentina and that the panel report was expected at the end of 2015. The EU said that it was ready to defend its measures. The DSB established a panel to examine this dispute. Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Turkey and the United States reserved their third-party rights to participate in the panel’s proceedings.
Panel requests rejected
DS491: US — Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Measures on Certain Coated Paper from Indonesia
Indonesia expressed its concerns regarding the US imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties on certain coated paper from Indonesia. In its view, the US dumping, subsidy, and threat of injury determinations appeared to be inconsistent with the US obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994, the Anti-Dumping Agreement, and the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement. Consultations held in June 2015 did not resolve the dispute. Hence, Indonesia made a modified new request for the establishment of a panel. Further to the US objection, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel to examine this dispute.
DS495: Korea — Import Bans, and Testing and Certification Requirements for Radionuclides
Japan said that its request for the establishment of a panel concerned two groups of Korean measures. First, following the Fukushima accident in March 2011, Korea adopted a series of measures in the form of import bans on certain foods from particular regions in Japan and additional testing and additional certification requirements regarding the presence of other radionuclides in foods from Japan. Second, Korea failed to publish these sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, failed to adequately respond to Japan’s requests under the SPS Agreement and provided limited and insufficient responses to Japan’s questions.
In Japan’s view, Korea’s measures and transparency omissions are inconsistent with the SPS Agreement. Consultations held in June 2015 did not resolve the dispute, hence Japan’s request for a panel. Korea said that significant questions remained regarding the status of the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the ability to end the contamination. Korea recalled that the SPS Agreement provides WTO members with the right to adopt SPS measures necessary for the protection of human, animal or plant life or health. Korea said it was not in a position to agree to the establishment of a panel. The DSB therefore deferred panel establishment in this dispute.
DS490: Indonesia — Safeguard on Certain Iron or Steel Products
Chinese Taipei requested the DSB to establish a panel to examine Indonesia’s safeguard measures on imports of certain flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, the investigation and determinations leading thereto, and other aspects related to the notification requirements and consultations required under the WTO agreements, which, in Chinese Taipei’s view, were inconsistent with WTO provisions. Consultations held in April 2015 did not resolve the matter, hence Chinese Taipei’s request for a panel. Indonesia said that it was disappointed that Chinese Taipei had proceeded to request the establishment of a panel despite all efforts on its part to clarify that the safeguard measure is consistent with the Safeguards Agreement and with Indonesia’s domestic safeguard regulation. Indonesia did not agree to the establishment of a panel. In that regard, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel to examine this dispute.
Panel reports adopted
DS447: US — Measures Affecting the Importation of Animals, Meat and Other Animal Products from Argentina
The DSB adopted the panel report contained in WT/DS447/R and Add.1. Argentina said that the panel had made it clear that the US measures were inconsistent with various provisions of the SPS Agreement. The panel had found that the US measures had no scientific justification; were not based on a risk assessment; unjustifiably discriminated between members; and were more restrictive than required.
Argentina hoped that the US would promptly comply with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in this dispute. The US said that, following a science-based review, it now permits the import of Argentine beef under conditions that meet the US high level of protection. Based on these actions which were taken in advance of the panel report, the US considered that it had addressed the matters raised in this dispute. In the US view, this dispute was not necessary nor the most efficient use of resources. Argentina said that it was concerned about two US draft laws that will prevent full implementation and thus it did not agree with the US assertion that it had complied. The US said that the draft laws were not yet adopted and thus had no effect on USDA’s actions.
DS414: China — Countervailing and Anti-Dumping Duties on Grain Oriented Flat-Rolled Electrical Steel from the United States
The DSB adopted the panel report contained in WT/DS414/RW/ and Add.1. The US noted that the compliance panel had found that China had failed to address the findings of the original panel and the Appellate Body in this dispute. The US also noted that China had announced that it would terminate the anti-dumping and countervailing duties on grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel (GOES) from the US. The US welcomed China’s action. China regretted that the compliance panel had found that its compliance measure was not in conformity with China’s obligations under the Anti-Dumping Agreement and SCM Agreement. China informed the DSB that the anti-dumping and countervailing duty measures on imports of GOES from the US had already been terminated upon the expiration on 10 April 2015. In that regard, China was of the view that it did not need to take further actions to implement the DSB’s recommendations and rulings.
DS468: Ukraine — Definitive Safeguard Measures on Certain Passenger Cars
Pursuant to Article 21.3 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, Ukraine said that, on 17 August 2015, it had informed the DSB in writing of its intentions in respect of implementation of the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in this dispute. Ukraine said that it would need a reasonable period of time to implement. Japan urged Ukraine to be ready for consultations immediately in order to reach an agreement on the reasonable period of time.
DS457: Peru — Additional Duty on Imports of Certain Agricultural Products
Peru informed the DSB that it intended to implement the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in this dispute. Guatemala said that it was feasible for Peru to implement the DSB’s recommendations immediately and that there may be no need for a reasonable period of time. However, Guatemala was ready to discuss the matter further. Guatemala noted that the 30 day period for Peru to inform the DSB of its intentions with regard to implementation in this dispute expired the previous day, 30 August 2015. While it would have preferred Peru to have informed the DSB of its intention earlier, Guatemala had exceptionally been flexible in this dispute.
Six status reports involving other disputes were also presented at the meeting.
Delays in the dispute settlement process
Korea made a statement regarding delays in the dispute settlement system, in particular with regard to the dispute “US — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Oil Country Tubular Goods from Korea (DS488)”. Korea was concerned that although the panel in this dispute was composed, the WTO Secretariat had informed Korea that the panel would not begin its work until the end of 2016 at the earliest due to constraints affecting the Secretariat. In Korea’s view, such long delays between panel composition and the initiation of proceedings was unreasonable; undermined the objective of the dispute settlement system; and was effectively a denial of remedy.
Korea noted that DS488 involved measures that affected Korean companies that were, as a result, losing $10 million a month and that further delays would only increase the losses. Korea appreciated the efforts being made by the Secretariat to improve the system and welcomed the Director-General’s presentation on the matter at the DSB meeting in September 2014. Korea said it was ready to discuss further with the Secretariat and WTO members but in order to do so, the Secretariat needed to provide more information to members on the specific constraints it faced. Such information should include numbers on staff members available to assist panels and the allocation of staff among the various dispute settlement divisions as well as case-specific information to the parties.
Korea reiterated its respect for the Secretariat’s decisions regarding management and clarified that it was in no way attempting to intrude. Korea therefore requested the Secretariat to provide as soon as possible specific information regarding the state of the dispute settlement workload, and an explanation of how that general information translates into the “end of 2016” timeline in DS488.
Sixteen delegations intervened under this item: US, Guatemala, Chile, China, Australia, Russia, Mexico, Pakistan, Japan, Brazil, Canada, India, EU, Argentina, Chinese Taipei and Norway. They supported the concerns raised by Korea regarding the delays in the dispute settlement system, which was a matter of systemic importance concerning all members. They acknowledged the increasing number of disputes as well as their complexity and expressed appreciation for the Secretariat. Many agreed with Korea’s request for more case-specific information from the Secretariat and more transparency. Delegations also noted the need for further discussions amongst themselves in an effort to find an appropriate solution to the matter.