Disputes in Brief

16 September 2010

  • Zeroing Apparently eager to defuse trade tensions, the EU and the US on 8 September requested the suspension of a WTO arbitration that was to determine the level of retaliation the EU should be allowed impose on imports from the United States in compensation for inflated anti-dumping duties resulting from zeroing. The EU gave the US another year to comply with previous rulings, but a USTR spokesperson cautioned that the joint request to halt the proceedings did not indicate what actions that the United States would take. The US has lost countless WTO disputes on zeroing, but still insists that the controversial method must remain available under the Anti-dumping Agreement.

Brussels had proposed annual retaliation figures ranging from US$311 million to US$477 million, but in May the US put the amount of EU trade affected by the duties at just US$2.78 million. The arbitrator's verdict was already several months overdue when the proceedings were put on ice.

In related news, Japan reactivated its request for WTO arbitration of the harm done to its economy by the United States' use of zeroing in May. The proceedings had been suspended by mutual agreement two years earlier. Tokyo seeks the right to apply sanctions worth US$245.8 million.

In addition, two more panels on US zeroing were established on 18 May, one at the request of South Korea with regard to steel products and the other on anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese shrimp.

  • COOL On 10 May, panelists were appointed to hear Canada and Mexico's complaint over US country-of-origin labelling for meat, setting the clock running for a ruling in November. The two countries claim that the labelling rules are discriminatory. Thirteen countries have joined the dispute as third parties (Bridges Year 14 No.1 page 11).
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