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This special edition of Talking Disputes series discussed the recent arbitral panel report in the dispute In the Matter of Guatemala – Issues Relating to the Obligations Under Article 16.2.1(a) of the CAFTA-DR, which was initiated by the United States in 2010.

The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) also includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua as its parties.

The dispute centres on the alleged failure of Guatemala to enforce its domestic laws dealing with the protection of the right of association, protection of the right to organize and bargain collectively, and acceptable conditions of work. The United States argued that those failures constituted “a sustained or recurring course of action or inaction” by Guatemala and that they were “in a manner affecting trade”, in violation of the Labour Chapter of the CAFTA-DR.

The US claims were not sustained by the panel. In particular, the panel found that majority of Guatemala’s alleged failure to enforce domestic labour legislation was not done “in a manner affecting trade.”

Following a presentation on the key findings of the panel, the experts engaged in an exchange of views on the legal and policy implications of the findings, and also discussed substantive and procedural aspects of international trade and investment law, international labour standard and FTA negotiations in the context of the dispute. 

Agenda (Geneva Time)

 

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17:15     Panel Discussion

Moderator:

Robert MCDOUGALL, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

Presentation of the report of the CAFTA-DR arbitral panel:

Colette VAN DER VEN, Sidley Austin

Discussants:

Joost PAUWELYN, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Pablo LAZO-GRANDI, Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva

Doug PALMER, Politico (online speaker)

18:15     Open Discussion
19:30     Reception

Practical info

Venue: Room S3, World Trade Organization (WTO), Rue de Lausanne 154, 1202 Geneva.

Video recording:The video recording is available on this event page.

Feedback:  We welcome your feedback.  Please click here to provide feedback on this event.

 [The views and opinions expressed in the event are those of the experts and do not necessarily reflect those of ICTSD and WTIA.]

 

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Date period: 
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 - 5:15pm

 

The event will discuss the recent WTO panel report on India – Solar Cells (DS 456). In the initial phases of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), solar power developers were required to use certain types of solar cells and modules manufactured in India for power generation projects in order to ultimately sell that electricity to government agencies under a long-term agreement at a guaranteed rate.

The panel found that these domestic content requirements (DCRs) are trade-related investment measures that violate the national treatment obligations under the TRIMs Agreement and the GATT 1994. The panel also found that the discrimination relating to solar cells and modules under the domestic content requirements cannot be exempted by the GATT Article III:8(a) derogation for government procurement, as the solar cells and modules discriminated against were not in a “competitive relationship” with the electricity bought by the Indian government from power developers. The panel concluded that the domestic content requirements are not measures “necessary to secure compliance with laws or regulations”, or “essential to the acquisition or distribution of products in general or local short supply” as claimed by India, and therefore cannot be justified by the general exceptions provided under GATT Article XX (d) and (j).

Practical info

Venue: Room S2, World Trade Organization (WTO), Rue de Lausanne 154, 1202 Geneva

Registration: Registration is mandatory (Registration is now closed).

[The views and opinions expressed in the event are those of the experts and do not necessarily reflect those of ICTSD and WTIA.]

 

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WTO Decision on Local Content Requirements Will Not Affect India Solar Ambitions, Officials SayWTO Panel Established in US-India Solar SpatClean Energy Drive in Focus as India's Modi Prepares to Take OfficeUS Launches New WTO Challenge Against India Solar Incentives US Lodges WTO Challenge Over India Renewable Energy Incentives
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Thursday, 7 April 2016 - 5:15pm
31 January 2016

By Simon Lester

On Friday, ICTSD and WTI Adivisors hosted an excellent discussion of the US - Tuna II WTO Appellate Body report, with Lorand Bartels, Joel Trachtman, Iain Sandford, David Agnew, and Matthew Owens as speakers. You can view the recording here

Please click here to provide feedback on this event.  To submit questions during the event, please use the comment function below.

The tuna-dolphin saga (DS381) at the WTO has been going on for almost eight years. In the latest compliance proceedings, the revised US dolphin-safe labelling regime for tuna products was ultimately found by the Appellate Body to be discriminatory and thus, WTO-inconsistent.

The Appellate Body ruled that because of lack of sufficient factual findings by the panel on the overall relative risks, it is not able to assess if the US measure could be justified in light of the relative risks associated with different fishing methods to dolphins in different areas of the ocean. The Appellate Body however considered, among others, that a “gap” in the design of the US measure, which does not appear to address other scenarios in which there maybe heightened risks of harm to dolphins associated with particular fishing methods outside the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) large purse-seine fishery, supports its ultimate finding of inconsistency with WTO rules. 

Looking ahead, questions remain - including: What next steps could be expected from the parties? To what extent does the ruling impact existing WTO jurisprudence on the TBT Agreement? What does the ruling mean in terms of regulatory space for governments, in light of TBT disciplines in the WTO and in current mega-regionals? How should policy-makers take into account and manage divergence in scientific opinion and/or scientific uncertainties?

Following a presentation on the key findings of the Appellate Body, the experts engaged in an exchange of views on the aforementioned and other related topics and invited the audience to comment and pose questions.

Practical info

Venue: Room S2, World Trade Organization (WTO), Rue de Lausanne 154, 1202 Geneva

Registration: Registration is mandatory. (Registration is now closed.)

This event was also streamed live online on this event page. Online viewers sent questions through through the comment function below, and on Twitter using the hash tag #TalkingDisputes, @ICTSDTradeLaw, @WTIAdvisors. Selected questions were read and addressed by the speakers during Q&A session. 

[The views and opinions expressed in the event are those of the experts and do not necessarily reflect those of ICTSD and WTIA.]

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WTO Appellate Body: Revised US Tuna Labelling Regime Violates Trade RulesWTO Panel Finds US Revisions to "Dolphin-Safe" Tuna Labels in Conflict With Trade RulesWTO Appellate Body: US "Dolphin-Safe" Label Discriminates Against Mexican TunaUS, Mexico to Fight Another Round in Tuna DisputePanel Rules US ‘Dolphin Safe’ Label Too Trade RestrictiveGATTzilla vs. Flippa revisited? The tuna-dolphin dispute’s second round
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 ...

Date period: 
Friday, 29 January 2016 - 7:00pm