European Union Delegation to Singapore

EU Statement at the Regular meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), 28 June 2021

Geneva, 28/06/2021 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 210628_33
Local Statements

Statement delivered by Ioannis Zervas, Counsellor

AGENDA POINT 1: SURVEILLANCE OF IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE DSB

B. UNITED STATES – SECTION 110(5) OF THE US COPYRIGHT ACT: STATUS REPORT BY THE UNITED STATES (WT/DS160/24/ADD.189)

 

We thank the United States for its status report and its statement today.

We refer to our previous statements. We would like to resolve this case as soon as possible.

 

AGENDA POINT 1: SURVEILLANCE OF IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE DSB

C.     EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES – MEASURES AFFECTING THE APPROVAL AND MARKETING OF BIOTECH PRODUCTS: STATUS REPORT BY THE EUROPEAN UNION (WT/DS291/37/ADD.154)

 

The Standing Committee meeting was held on-line on 19 April 2021. The Commission presented one authorisation and one renewal authorisation[1]. The Standing Committee did not reach an opinion. The Commission presented the two authorisation decisions at the on-line meeting of the Appeal Committee on 9 June, resulting in a “no opinion” vote. It is now for the Commission to decide on these authorisations.

A Standing Committee meeting was held on-line on 17 May 2021. The Commission presented three authorisation and one renewal authorisation[2]. Due to the current public health situation, the vote was taken by written procedure and no opinion was reached on 1 June. The four draft decisions will be submitted to the Appeal Committee on 6 July where a vote will be taken by written procedure. In addition, a Standing Committee meeting was held on-line on 8 June 2021, where the Commission presented one authorisation and one renewal authorisation[3]. Due to the current public health situation, the vote was taken by written procedure and no opinion was reached on 22 June. The two draft decisions will be submitted to the Appeal Committee accordingly.

The United States frequently refers to Member States’ justifications issued during the meetings of the Standing Committee and Appeal Committee as being “political” and “not science based”. The EU would like to stress that the comitology procedure (including when measures are referred to the appeal committee) is an intrinsic and important part of the EU’s decision making process, and that its application is not limited to the authorisation procedure of GMOs. In addition, the EU would like to underline that the final decision taken on the authorisation is clearly science-based as those GMOs are authorised where the European Food Safety Authority has finalised its scientific opinion and concluded that there are no safety concerns.

As confirmed by the US delegation during the EU-US consultations held on 18 June 2021, efforts to reduce delays in authorisation procedures are constantly maintained at a high level at all stages of the authorisation procedure.

It is also important to recognise the increased transparency in the EFSA’s scientific assessment of GMOs, resulting from the new Transparency Regulation[4], which should help to reinforce trust in the safety of the authorised GMOs.

The EU acts in line with its WTO obligations. Finally, we recall that the EU approval system is not covered by the DSB's recommendations and rulings.

 

AGENDA POINT 2: UNITED STATES – CONTINUED DUMPING AND SUBSIDY OFFSET ACT OF 2000: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE DSB

  1. STATEMENT BY THE EUROPEAN UNION

First intervention

Despite long-standing reassurances of the US that the DSB’s recommendations and rulings are fully implemented by adopting the Deficit Reduction Act, disbursements under CDSOA have been made every year since then. Every disbursement that still takes place under this legal basis is clearly an act of non-compliance with DSB recommendations and rulings. For the item to be considered resolved and removed from the DSB's surveillance, the US must fully stop transferring collected duties.      

The EU maintains that such full compliance is needed, independently of the cost resulting from the application of such limited duties.

The EU renews its call on the United States to abide by its obligation under Article 21.6 of the DSU to submit implementation reports in this dispute, as the issue remains unresolved. If the US does not agree that the issue remains unresolved, nothing prevents the US from seeking a multilateral determination through a compliance procedure.

Second Intervention

The EU recalls that the CDSOA was found to be in breach of WTO rules for transferring anti-dumping and countervailing duties to US industry, and that the DSB authorised sanctions, on the basis of the US failure to comply with the recommendations and rulings. That situation persists as long as the redistribution of collected duties continues, as most recently shown by the report of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the financial year 2020. The circumstances of this case with regard to relevant DSU provisions and procedures are therefore entirely different from those in DS472.

    

AGENDA POINT 3:  EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES AND CERTAIN MEMBER STATES – MEASURES AFFECTING TRADE IN LARGE CIVIL AIRCRAFT: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE DSB

 

The EU welcomes the fact that parties have now reached an Understanding on a Cooperative Framework for Large Civil Aircraft that allowed the parties to suspend their respective retaliation measures for five years.

We note that, in the Airbus case, the EU notified a new set of compliance measures to the DSB.

That new set of compliance measures was subject to an assessment by a compliance panel and that panel’s report was issued on 2 December 2019. As noted in our statement at the December 2020 meeting of the DSB, the EU is of the view that significant aspects of the compliance panel’s report cannot be regarded as legally correct and are very problematic from a systemic perspective when it comes to assessing compliance with the subsidy disciplines of the WTO agreements. In order to have these legal errors corrected, the EU filed an appeal against the compliance panel’s report on 6 December 2019.

Whether or not the matter is “resolved” in the sense of Article 21.6 is the very subject matter of this ongoing litigation. The defending party is not required to submit “status reports” to the DSB in these circumstances.

The EU hopes that the Understanding on a Cooperative Framework for Large Civil Aircraft will allow the parties to resolve their disagreement also in relation to the provision of status reports to the DSB in the Airbus case.

 

AGENDA POINT 5: APPELLATE BODY APPOINTMENTS

 

The European Union refers to its previous statements on this issue.

Since 11 December 2019, the WTO no longer guarantees access to a binding, two-tier, independent and impartial resolution of trade disputes.

A fully functioning WTO dispute settlement system is critical for a rules-based multilateral trading system.

This is why the most urgent area of WTO reform involves finding an agreed basis to restore such a system and proceeding to the appointment of the members of the Appellate Body. This task should be addressed as a priority.

As we have consistently noted, WTO Members have a shared responsibility to resolve this issue as soon as possible, and to fill the outstanding vacancies as required by Article 17.2 of the DSU.

The EU agrees that a meaningful reform is needed in order to achieve this objective.

The EU therefore renews its call on all WTO Members to engage in a constructive discussion as soon as possible in order to restore a fully functioning WTO dispute settlement system.

We thank all Members that have co-sponsored the proposal to launch the appointment processes.

 

 

        

 

 

[1]             Meeting of 19 April 2021: authorisation of oilseed rape Ms8xRf3xGT73 and subcombinations for food and feed (except isolated seed protein for food) and renewal authorisation of GT73 for feed.

[2]             Meeting of 17 May 2021: authorisation for food and feed of soybean DAS-81419-2, soybean DAS-81419-2 × DAS–44406–6, maize 1507 × MIR162 × MON810 × NK603 and subcombinations; and renewal authorisation of maize Bt 11 for food and feed.

[3]             Meeting of 8 June 2021: authorisation for food and feed of maize MON 87427 x MON 87460 x MON 89304 x 1507 x MON 87411 x 59122 and renewal authorisation of maize MON 88017 x MON 810  for food and feed.

[4]             Regulation (EU) 2019/1381 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on the transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain and amending Regulations (EC) No 178/2002, (EC) No 1829/2003, (EC) No 1831/2003, (EC) No 2065/2003, (EC) No 1935/2004, (EC) No 1331/2008, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) 2015/2283 and Directive 2001/18/EC (OJ L 231, 6.9.2019, p. 1-28).

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