On April 9, 2019, the World Trade Organization released the Panel Report in United States – Anti-Dumping Measures Applying Differential Pricing Methodology to Softwood Lumber from Canada, WT/DS534/R. The decision addresses particular aspects of the US Department of Commerce’s methodology for calculating antidumping duties under the Antidumping Agreement (the Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994). In some ways, the decision reiterates already-established principles – for example, Commerce may address perceived “targeted dumping” through the use of “zeroing” in its calculations. In other ways, the decision sets up changes that may be necessary in the margin calculations. After the 60-day period for appeal passes, it will be clearer whether the decision will affect future proceedings and if there is a new avenue for foreign producers to challenge Commerce’s practice domestically.
[Update to April 8 article below] On April 12, 2019, the Office of the US Trade Representative published in the Federal Register a notice of initiation of investigation, hearing, and request for comments [Docket No. USTR–2019–0003] regarding enforcement of US rights in the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute against the European Union (EU) and certain EU member States addressed to EU subsidies on large civil aircraft.
On 5 April 2019, the WTO circulated the panel report in Russia – Measures Concerning Traffic In Transit (DS512). The decision is the first time that a WTO panel has had to decide the extent of WTO jurisdiction over a claim by a Member that its actions were appropriate under Article XXI, the essential security exemption from WTO rules. Ukraine brought the dispute in September 2016 after the Russian Federation imposed restrictions preventing Ukraine from using roads and railways to trade goods with several former Soviet republics. Ukraine claimed that the measures appear to be inconsistent with:
The WTO announced that Australia has ratified the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), submitting its instrument of accession to the WTO Secretariat on 5 April. The announcement said:
On January 26, 2019, the Canada Gazette published a notice from Global Affairs Canada announcing that on January 25, 2019, Canada launched consultations on potential future negotiations on electronic commerce (e-commerce) at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
WTO members have agreed that the organization’s next Ministerial Conference will take place from 8 to 11 June 2020 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The dates were endorsed at an 18 October meeting of the WTO’s General Council.
The WTO announced that at the 17 October 2018, meeting, Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) parties reviewed the UK’s revised market access offer as part of its bid to join the GPA in its own right after its departure from the European Union. All GPA parties that spoke expressed a clear desire that the UK continue to participate in the Agreement in a seamless manner post-Brexit, on terms that are mutually acceptable.
The WTO announced that on 17 October 2018, parties to the WTO plurilateral Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) unanimously approved a decision to welcome Australia as the 48th WTO member to be covered by the Agreement. Australia will officially become a GPA party 30 days after submitting its Instrument of Accession to the WTO’s Director-General.
On 21 September 2018, the WTO announced that The Bahamas had committed to reactivating and accelerating its WTO accession process after six years of impasse. The third meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of The Bahamas, was held on 21 September. The Bahamas intends to secure WTO membership by the end of 2019. The WTO said that The Bahamas is the last nation in the Americas still outside the WTO.
On August 24, 2018, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice of public hearing and request for comments [Docket Number USTR-2018-0030] to assist the Office of the USTR in the preparation of its annual report to the Congress on China’s compliance with the commitments made in connection with its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).