European Union External Action

EU Statement at the Regular meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), 30 August 2021

Geneva, 30/08/2021 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 210830_2
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.190).

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.155)

On 17 August 2020, the Commission adopted seven authorisations for GMOs for food and feed use. Those authorisations concern 3 new GMs of maize[1], 2 new GMs of soybeans[2], 1 new GM of oilseed rape[3] and 1 new GM of cotton[4]. On that date the Commission also renewed two GMs of maize[5] and one GM of oilseed rape[6].

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.

Efforts to reduce delays in authorisation procedures are constantly maintained at a high level at all stages of the authorisation procedure. However, it is worth noting that, when applicants do not act expeditiously in certain applications, this has a knock-on effect on the overall average time needed for risk assessment.

It is important to recognise the increased transparency in the EFSA’s scientific assessment of GMOs, resulting from the new Transparency Regulation[7], 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

 

A. STATEMENT BY THE EUROPEAN UNION

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 it from seeking a multilateral determination through a compliance procedure.

 

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

 

         B. STATEMENT BY THE UNITED STATES

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 8: 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]       maize MON 87427 x MON 87460 x MON 89304 x 1507 x MON 87411 x 59122 and subcombinations, maize 1507 x MON 810 x MIR162 x NK603 and subcombinations, maize MZIR098

[2]       soybean DAS-81419-2, soybean DAS–81419–2 x DAS–44406–6

[3]       oilseed rape Ms8xRf3xGT73

[4]       cotton GHB119 x GHB614 x T304-40

[5]       maize Bt11, maize MON 88017 x MON 810

[6]       oilseed rape GT73 (only renewed for feed, renewal for food currently at EFSA)

[7]       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).

Editorial Sections: