U.S. Statement at the WTO Dispute Settlement Body Meeting

Geneva,
June 19, 2009

1. SURVEILLANCE OF IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE DSB

A. UNITED STATES SECTION 211 OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS ACT OF 1998: STATUS REPORT BY THE UNITED STATES (WT/DS176/11/ADD.79)

• Mr. Chairman, the United States provided a status report in this dispute on June 8, 2009, in accordance with Article 21.6 of the DSU.

• As noted in that status report, a number of legislative proposals that would implement the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in this dispute have been introduced in the current Congress, which convened in January.

• The U.S. Administration is working with Congress to implement the DSB’s recommendations and rulings.
B. UNITED STATES ANTI DUMPING MEASURES ON CERTAIN HOT ROLLED STEEL PRODUCTS FROM JAPAN: STATUS REPORT BY THE UNITED STATES (WT/DS184/15/ADD.79)

• The United States provided a status report in this dispute on June 8, 2009, in accordance with Article 21.6 of the DSU.

• As of November 23, 2002, the U.S. authorities had addressed the DSB’s recommendations and rulings with respect to the calculation of antidumping margins in the hot-rolled steel antidumping duty investigation at issue in this dispute. Details are provided in the document numbered WT/DS184/15/ADD.3.

• With respect to the recommendations and rulings of the DSB that were not already addressed by the U.S. authorities by November 23, 2002, the U.S. Administration will work with the U.S. Congress with respect to appropriate statutory measures that would resolve this matter.

C. UNITED STATES SECTION 110(5) OF THE US COPYRIGHT ACT: STATUS REPORT BY THE UNITED STATES (WT/DS160/24/ADD.54)

• The United States provided a status report in this dispute on June 8, 2009, in accordance with Article 21.6 of the DSU.

• The U.S. Administration will work closely with the U.S. Congress and continue to confer with the European Communities, in order to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of this matter.
D. EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES MEASURES AFFECTING THE APPROVAL AND MARKETING OF BIOTECH PRODUCTS: STATUS REPORT BY THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (WT/DS291/37/ADD.17 WT/DS292/31/ADD.17 WT/DS293/31/ADD.17)

• The United States thanks the EC for its statement.

• We are about at the mid-point of calendar year 2009. Regrettably, the EC has shown little if any progress through the first half of 2009 in addressing the problems in the operation of its approval system for biotech products.

• As the United States has noted at past DSB meetings, approximately 50 biotech applications are backed up in the EC approval system. As a result of this backlog, the EC currently bans the import of maize and other important agricultural products produced in the United States.

• During the first six months of 2009, the EC has managed to reach a final decision on only a single pending product. And that product – rapeseed T-45 – was first submitted for approval in February 1999. With the passage of over a decade, the rapeseed variety is now obsolete and is no longer marketed. In short, during the first half of this year, the EC has failed to reach a decision on a single biotech product that is currently in commercial production.

• Moreover, with regard to EC member State bans on those biotech products that the EC has managed to approve, the situation seems to be getting worse. As the United States discussed at the April meeting of the DSB, during the first half of this year two additional member States – Germany and Luxembourg – imposed bans on a key biotech product approved at the EC level. These bans were adopted despite the fact that the DSB found that Austria’s ban on this same product amounted to a breach of the obligations set out in the SPS Agreement.

• The United States again urges the EC to take prompt steps to resolve these serious and ongoing problems in the operation of its biotech approval system.

E. EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES REGIME FOR THE IMPORTATION, SALE AND DISTRIBUTION OF BANANAS: SECOND RECOURSE TO ARTICLE 21.5 BY ECUADOR: STATUS REPORT BY THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES (WT/DS27/96/ADD.5)

• Mr. Chairman, we thank the EC for its status report and statement. However, once again, the EC has provided no information regarding how the EC is in compliance with its obligations under GATT Articles I and XIII.

• And, once again, we note that the DSB has not adopted any finding that the EC is in compliance with its WTO obligations with respect to its bananas import regime with respect to any of the other original co-complainants in this dispute, including the United States.

• The reasonable period of time for compliance in this dispute expired more than 10 years ago, on January 1, 1999.

• The commercial impact of the EC’s non-compliance over this very long period is undeniably large and damaging to a number of WTO Members. We call on the EC to resolve this dispute and, until then, to provide a comprehensive explanation of how the EC intends to come into substantive compliance with all of the DSB recommendations and rulings.
3. UNITED STATES CONTINUED DUMPING AND SUBSIDY OFFSET ACT OF 2000: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE DSB

A. STATEMENTS BY THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES AND JAPAN

• As the United States has already explained at previous DSB meetings, the President signed the Deficit Reduction Act into law on February 8, 2006. That Act includes a provision repealing the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000. Thus, the United States has taken all actions necessary to implement the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in these disputes.

• We recall, furthermore, that Members have acknowledged during previous DSB meetings that the 2006 Deficit Reduction Act does not permit the distribution of duties collected on goods entered after October 1, 2007.

• With respect to comments regarding further status reports in this matter, as we have already explained at previous DSB meetings, the United States fails to see what purpose would be served by further submission of status reports repeating the progress the United States made in the implementation of the DSB’s recommendations and rulings.
4. MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION REGARDING THE IMPORTATION OF HIGH QUALITY BEEF AND THE DISPUTE “EC MEASURES CONCERNING MEAT AND MEAT PRODUCTS (HORMONES)”

A. STATEMENTS BY ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA AND URUGUAY

• The United States recalls the discussion of raising this topic at the May 20 DSB meeting and would like to thank Argentina, Australia, and Uruguay for inscribing this as an item on the DSB’s agenda. We have taken note of their statements as well as those of other Members and of the European Communities.

• Beef from cattle raised with the growth-promoting hormones at issue in this dispute is safe and healthy for consumers.

• However, we are pleased that we and the EC were able to forge a pragmatic way forward in this long-running dispute, and we thank the EC for its cooperation and hard work in concluding the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

• We confirm the EC’s statement that the MOU provides for the establishment of a tariff rate quota for beef that meets a definition that is origin-neutral.

• Any beef that meets the definition’s objective requirements on matters such as diet, age, and quality is eligible for the quota regardless of origin.

• In addition, it is our understanding that the EC intends to implement and administer the quota on a non-discriminatory basis.

• The United States has long stressed the importance of flexibility in the WTO dispute settlement system. The ability of the United States and the EC to conclude this MOU is a demonstration of how that flexibility can be put to use by Members to make progress in a long-running dispute.
• The progress made towards resolving this dispute would seem to reinforce the questions previously expressed by a number of Members in the DSB about the wisdom and appropriateness of the Appellate Body’s “recommendation” to both parties that they initiate proceedings “without delay” under Article 21.5 of the DSU to resolve their disagreement over implementation. The agreement between the EC and the United States demonstrates that there was a better way forward in this dispute than pursuing further litigation.