Permanent Mission of the European Union to
the World Trade Organization (WTO)

 

EU Statements at the Regular Dispute Settlement (DSB) Meeting, 25 February 2019

Geneva, 25/02/2019 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 190225_17
Local Statements

REGULAR DSB MEETING – 25 FEBRUARY 2019

                                                                                                                                       AS DELIVERED


REGULAR DSB MEETING – 25 FEBRUARY 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.167)

 

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.

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                               AS DELIVERED

 

REGULAR DSBMEETING – 25 FEBRUARY 2019

 

 

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.120)

 

• 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.

• On the 14th of January 2019, four draft authorisations were presented for a vote to the Appeal

Committee, with a "no opinion" result. There was one for a renewal of genetically modified oilseed rape, two for new genetically modified maize and one for genetically modified cotton. It is now for the Commission to decide on these authorisations.

• On the same date, three draft authorisations for new genetically modifies maize were presented for a vote in a Member States Committee, with "no opinion" result. These measures will now be submitted for a vote to the Appeal Committee, on 22 February 2019.

• The EU continues to be committed to act in line with its WTO obligations. More generally and as stated many times before, the EU recalls that the EU approval system is not covered by the DSB's recommendations and rulings.

Second intervention:

• In response to the US' statements, we would like to clarify that no EU Member State has imposed any ban so far. Moreover, under the terms of the "opt-out" Directive, an EU Member State could adopt measures restrictions or prohibiting cultivation only if such measures are in line with EU law, reasoned, proportional, non-discriminatory and based on compelling grounds. We would also like to remind the DSB that the opt-out Directive is not covered by the DSB recommendations and rulings.

• The US has also referred to a judgment of the European Court of Justice, which was issued in July 2018. That judgment provided important clarification on the scope of application of the legislation on genetically modified orrganisms, in relation to organisms obtained by mutagenesis techniques.

• The Court of Justice ruled that organisms obtained by means of new techniques and methods

of mutagenesis, which have appeared or have been mostly developed since the adoption of Directive 2001/18, fall within the scope of the Directive.

• The judgment has not extended the scope of the legislation. It has clarified how it should be

read.

• The European Commission is now working to ensure proper implementation of the judgment,

together with the EU Member States. The EU Member States are responsible at national level for the relevant control activities regarding the placing on the market of both products produced in the EU and products that are imported into the EU. To this effect, the Joint Research Centre is helping national laboratories to develop relevant detection methods.

• There have been many reactions to the Court's judgment, bringing forward a wide range of different views.

• Among these, the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors of the Scientific Advice Mechanism issued a statement on a scientific perspective on regulatory status of products derived from gene editing. This statement focuses on the new mutagenesis techniques and does not put into question previously authorised genetically modified organisms.

• The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors provides independent scientific advice to the European Commission. Its work feeds into on-going discussions with all stakeholders.

 

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                                                         AS DELIVERED

 

REGULAR DSBMEETING – 25 FEBRUARY 2019

 

AGENDA POINT 2: 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.

• 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 implemented the WTO ruling.

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                                                AS DELIVERED

 

REGULAR DSBMEETING – 25 FEBRUARY 2019

 

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

 

• The US has 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 is 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 the DSB recommendations and rulings.

• In light of the US position, on 29 May 2018 the EU has 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.  Let me repeat 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?

• In the case that we discussed under the previous item of the agenda, the one known as “Byrd Amendment”, the situation is completely different. The dispute has been adjudicated and there are no further proceedings pending. 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 purposes of Article 21.6 DSU.  If the US does not agree that the issue remains unresolved, nothing prevents the US from seeking a multilateral determination through a compliance procedure, just like the EU is doing in the Airbus case.

• In conclusion, 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.

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                                        AS DELIVERED

 

REGULAR DSBMEETING – 25 FEBRUARY 2019

 

AGENDA POINT 5: APPELLATE BODY APPOINTMENTS

 

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

• 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, so that the appointments can be made as soon as possible.

• We also wish to recall that concrete proposals have been submitted to the General Council with a view to unblocking the Appellate Body appointments. These proposals constitute a serious effort to address the concerns that have been voiced in connection with the functioning of the Appellate Body. They are now being discussed under the auspices of the Chair of the General Council. We invite all Members to engage constructively in these discussions so that the vacancies can be filled as soon as possible.

 

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