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Serious concern voiced over US non-implementation of DSB rulings

TWN Info Service 31 March 2016

Several countries reminded the United States on Wednesday (23 March) at the World Trade Organization that Washington's continued failure to comply with and implement the Dispute Settlement Body recommendations in trade disputes remains a source of "serious" and "systemic" concern, trade diplomats told the SUNS.

At a WTO's regular Dispute Settlement Body meeting, Mexico sought authorization for slapping trade retaliatory measures to the tune of US$472.3 million on American goods because of Washington's repeated failures to comply with the DSB's recommendation in the long-drawn dispute over import and sale of tuna and tuna products from Mexico.

A day before the DSB meeting, the US objected to Mexico's request for the level of trade retaliatory measures of US$472.3 million in the tuna dispute under Article 22.6 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding.

The arbitration on Mexico's level of retaliation will now go before the original panel if it is available, or to an arbitrator appointed by the WTO's director-general, for the arbitration exercise to be completed within 60 days.

But more importantly, the DSB's monthly agenda has invariably listed the following trade disputes in which the US has failed to implement the DSB's recommendations: (i) US anti-dumping measures on certain hot-rolled steel products from Japan; (ii) US Section 110 (5) of the US Copyright Act; (iii) US anti-dumping measures on certain shrimp products from Vietnam; (iv) US countervailing measures on certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India; (v) US Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (Byrd Amendment).

At the DSB meeting on Wednesday, the EU, Japan, and India among others told the US that WTO-inconsistent disbursements to the American domestic industry continue unabated under the Byrd Amendment.

India highlighted its "significant concerns" about the steps taken so far by the US for implementing the DSB recommendations in the dispute concerning the countervailing duties on the Indian hot-rolled carbon steel products.

India said "even after 16 months of adoption of the Panel and Appellate Body Report and the RPT [reasonable period of time] almost coming to an end shortly, the US seems to have made no efforts to repeal or amend Section 1677(7)(G) of its domestic law as to bring it into conformity with Articles 15.1, 15.2, 15.3 and 15.5 of the SCM Agreement, despite the categorical finding and recommendation of the Appellate Body to this effect."

"The failure to initiate any good faith efforts in this direction, with the RPT deadline being so close now, is a cause for serious and systemic concern," India maintained.

The number of cases in which the US has not implemented the DSB recommendations stands like an eyesore in the WTO's dispute settlement jurisprudence, several trade diplomats told the SUNS.

The US has alleged that China has not implemented the DSB recommendations in certain restrictive measures it imposed on the electronic payment services.

But Washington's serial behaviour for not providing justice in trade remedy cases and other disputes, particularly those raised by developing countries, is contributing to growing lawlessness in the enforcement of WTO rulings, several trade diplomats told the SUNS.

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