Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

EU Statement at the Regular Dispute Settlement Body (DSU) meeting on 24 June 2019

Geneva, 24/06/2019 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 190624_11
Local Statements

REGULAR DSB MEETING – 24 JUNE 2019

 

 

 

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.172)

 

 

  • 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.135)

 

  • The EU continues to progress with the authorisations where the European Food Safety Authority has finalised its scientific opinion and concluded that there are no safety concerns.

 

In general, the efforts to reduce delays in all stages of the authorisation procedures are constantly maintained at a high level. This has already resulted in a clear improvement of the situation. It should be noted that delays in risk assessment on some applications are mainly due to the time that the applicants need in order to respond to justified scientific questions.

 

I would like to recall that on 5 June 2019, three draft authorisations – one for new GM maize[1] and two for renewing the authorisation of a GM soybean[2] and a GM cotton[3] – were presented for a vote in a Appeal Committee with “no opinion” result. It is now for the Commission to decide on these authorisations.

 

  • In addition, on 11 June 2019, two draft authorisations – one for renewing the authorisation of a GM soybean[4] and one of a GM oilseed rape[5] – were presented for a vote in a Member States Committee with “no opinion” result. These measures will now be submitted for a vote in the Appeal Committee in July.
  • The EU is committed to acting in line with its WTO obligations. More generally, and as stated many times before, the EU approval system is not covered by the DSB's recommendations and rulings.

 

Second intervention

  • We would like to remind the DSB that the opt-out Directive is not covered by the DSB recommendations and rulings.
  • The WTO Agreements do not require full international harmonisation and leave some regulatory space or autonomy to individual WTO Members. The European Union has different regulatory approaches to non-GMOs and GMOs but, in all cases, such regulations do not discriminate between imported and domestic like products.
  • No EU Member State has imposed any ”ban”. Under the terms of the Directive, an EU Member State can adopt measures restricting or prohibiting cultivation only when such measures are in line with EU law and are reasoned, proportional, non-discriminatory and based on compelling grounds.
  • The free movement of seeds is embedded in Article 22 of Directive 2001/18/EC: Member States may not prohibit, restrict or impede the placing on the market of GMOs which comply with the requirements of this Directive. We also note that according to the provisions of the opt-out Directive (Article 26b, point 8) the measures adopted under the Directive  ‘shall not affect the free circulation of authorised GMOs’ in the EU.
  •  Currently the EU Common Catalogue of varieties of agricultural species includes 150 varieties of maize MON 810, which are allowed to be marketed in the EU. Until today, the Commission has never received any complaints from seed operators or other stakeholders concerning the restriction of marketing of MON810 seeds in the EU. This confirms the smooth functioning of the internal market of MON810 seeds.
  • We invite the US to provide any evidence they may have at their disposal substantiating the alleged disruption of the free movement of MON810 seeds in the EU.]
  • In relation to the statement of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, the EU would like to recall that the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors is an independent group of scientific experts providing scientific advice to the European Commission.
  • First, the EU would like to reiterate that this statement focuses on the future challenges for products obtained by new mutagenesis techniques, and not on the “conventional GMOs”. The statement does not state nor imply that Directive 2001/18 is not fit for purpose as regards “conventional GMOs”.
  • Second, there have been many reactions to the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union, bringing forward a wide range of different views. The statement to which the United States referred, feeds into on-going discussions on new mutagenesis techniques with all stakeholders. Some stakeholders agree with that statement. However, many others consider that the current legislation is adequate to address the risks from new biotechnology developments.
  • The European Commission has a strong interest in this debate, which should go beyond the regulatory status of new technologies and focus on the way new products could help address societal challenges, such as climate change or reduction of use of pesticides, without negative consequences on health and environment protection.

 

 

 

AGENDA POINT 3: UNITED STATES – CONTINUED DUMPING AND SUBSIDY OFFSET ACT OF 2000: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE DSB

 

A. STATEMENT BY THE EUROPEAN UNION

 

 

•      The EU requests once again that the United States stops transferring antidumping and countervailing duties to the US industry.

 

•      Every disbursement that still takes place is clearly an act of non-compliance with DSB recommendations and rulings. Even if the amounts have considerably decreased, the latest CDSOA report from December 2018 still shows that amounts are still being in practice disbursed. As long as the US does not fully stop transferring collected duties, the item is rightly under the DSB's surveillance.

 

•      The EU renews its call on the United States to abide by its clear obligation under Article 21.6 of the DSU to submit implementation reports in this dispute.

 

•      The EU will continue to put this point on the agenda as long as the US has not fully implemented the WTO ruling and the disbursements cease completely.

 

Second intervention

 

•      The EU recalls that the CDSOA was found in breach of WTO rules for transferring anti-dumping and countervailing duties to the US industry. As long as the redistribution of collected duties continues, the United States will be in breach of Articles 18.1 of the AD Agreement and 32.1 of the SCM Agreement and full implementation will still have to be delivered.

 

•      Once the transfers of anti-dumping and countervailing duties cease, so will the EU measures.

 

•      The European Union notes that this dispute has been adjudicated and there are currently no further proceedings pending. This a statement of fact and does not – as the US implies – suggest that the issue of compliance has been adjudicated.

 

•      Under Article 21.6 DSU, the issue of implementation shall remain on the DSB's agenda until the issue is resolved. In the Byrd Amendment case, the EU does not agree with the US assertion that it has implemented the DSB recommendations and rulings. This means that the issue remains unresolved for the purposes of Article 21.6 DSU. If the US does not agree the issue remains unresolved, nothing prevents it from seeking a multilateral determination through a compliance procedure, just like the EU is doing in the Airbus case.

 

 

 

AGENDA POINT 4:  EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES AND CERTAIN MEMBER STATES – MEASURES AFFECTING TRADE IN LARGE CIVIL AIRCRAFT: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE DSB

 

•      As in the previous DSB meetings, the US has again implied that the EU is taking inconsistent positions under Article 21.6 of the DSU, depending on whether the EU is a complaining party or a defending party in a dispute. The US assertion remains without merit.

 

•      As the EU has repeatedly explained in past meetings of the DSB, the crucial point for the defending party’s obligation to provide status reports to the DSB is the stage of the dispute. In the Airbus case, the dispute is at a stage where the defending party does not have an obligation to submit status reports to the DSB.

 

•      We would like to remind the DSB that in the Airbus case, the EU notified to the WTO a new set of measures in a compliance communication which was tabled at the DSB meeting of 28 May 2018. The US responded that the measures included in that communication do not bring the EU in full compliance with DSB recommendations and rulings.

 

•      In light of the US position, on 29 May 2018 the EU requested consultations with the United States, under Articles 4 and 21.5 of the DSU. These consultations failed to resolve the dispute. Consequently, the EU asked for the establishment of a compliance panel. The compliance panel was established by the DSB on 27 August 2018.

 

•      That compliance panel is currently reviewing “the existence or consistency with a covered agreement of measures taken to comply with the recommendations and rulings” of the DSB. As part of that review, the compliance panel held a meeting with the parties and third parties, and is assessing the parties’ replies to its questions on compliance of the EU. 

 

•      Let me stress once again: there is a compliance proceeding still on-going in this dispute. Whether or not the matter is “resolved” in the sense of Article 21.6 is the very subject matter of this ongoing litigation. How can it be said that the defending party should submit “status reports” to the DSB in these circumstances?

 

•      The EU would be very concerned with a reading of Article 21.6 of the DSU that would require the defending party to notify the purported “status of its implementation efforts” through the submission of status reports to the DSB, while dispute settlement proceedings on that precise issue are ongoing.

 

•      The view of the EU is further supported by Article 2 of the DSU on the administration of the dispute settlement rules and procedures: where, further to the disagreement between the parties on compliance, a matter is with the adjudicators, it is temporarily taken out of the DSB’s surveillance.

 

AGENDA POINT 5: UNITED STATES – ANTI-DUMPING AND COUNTERVAILING DUTIES ON RIPE OLIVES FROM SPAIN

  1. REQUEST FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PANEL BY THE EUROPEAN UNION (WT/DS577/3)

 

  • The EU would like to reiterate its concerns and urge the US to bring the duties, as well as the underlying US legislation, in line with its WTO obligations. The EU trusts that the panel that will be established today can be swiftly composed and start its work.


 

AGENDA POINT 8: APPELLATE BODY APPOINTMENTS

 

•        The European Union refers to its statements on this issue in previous meetings, starting in February 2017.

•        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. We thank all Members that have co-sponsored the proposal to launch the appointment processes. We invite all other Members to endorse this proposal.

•        We also wish to recall that concrete proposals have been submitted to the General Council with a view to unblocking the Appellate Body appointments. We invite all Members to engage constructively in these discussions so that the vacancies could be filled as soon as possible.

 

 

[1] Maize MZHG0JG

[2] Renewal of soybean MON 89788

[3] Renewal of LLCotton25

[4] Renewal of soybean A2704-12

[5] Renewal of oilseed rape T45

Editorial Sections: