Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Jul15/02)
3 July 2015
Third World Network
Proposal on transparency, due process in AD tabled in Rules Group
Published in SUNS #8051 dated 29 June 2015
Geneva, 26 Jun (Kanaga Raja) -- A proposal to ensure due process and
transparency in anti-dumping (AD) proceedings has been presented in
a paper at an informal meeting of the WTO Negotiating Group on Rules
The proposal (TN/RL/W/257) by members of the "Friends of Anti-Dumping
Negotiations (FANs)" group, was presented by Japan. The co-sponsors
of the paper are: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong-China, Israel,
Japan, Korea, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
However, according to trade officials, a number of delegations reiterated
at the informal meeting that they are not prepared to engage in substantive
discussions on the issue of anti-dumping in the absence of progress
on the core Doha Round issues of agriculture, non-agricultural market
access (NAMA) and services.
Meanwhile, a new paper has been put forward by Argentina, Iceland,
New Zealand, Norway, Peru and Uruguay at the Rules group informal
meeting for effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies in the post-Bali
work programme. Another meeting of the Rules Group is expected to
be held on 1 July for members to comment on this paper (see below).
In opening remarks at the informal meeting, the Chair of the Rules
Group, Ambassador Wayne McCook of Jamaica, said that he was "fully
conscious" of the view held by some members that possible outcomes
on rules cannot be identified until outcomes in other areas of the
Doha Round are more clearly defined.
Nevertheless, he added, some delegations consider rules to be very
important, are worried about the pending deadline for concluding the
post-Bali work programme, and have submitted concrete proposals on
how the issue could be addressed in the work programme.
According to the Chair, these delegations seek - and are entitled
to - an opportunity to present their ideas to the group, to take questions,
and to hear reactions.
In its presentation, Japan said the paper focused on "un-bracketed"
elements of the draft 2011 Chairman's text on anti-dumping which relate
to transparency and due process.
It said that these elements reflected areas of convergence which could
form the "core deliverables" of the anti-dumping part of
the post-Bali work programme which members are seeking to finalise
by the end of July.
Japan underscored that it did not expect members to engage in line-by-line
discussion of the proposal but was putting the paper forward in order
to present its views on the issue as clearly as possible.
According to the paper, transparency of AD investigation procedures
and due process rights are fundamental and are critical aspects for
improving the disciplines, principles and effectiveness of the AD
regime while preserving basic concepts.
"Transparency and due process are vital to interested parties.
Parties need information and reasonable procedures in order to participate
effectively in an investigation and defend their interests."
The paper said that this will be impossible unless the parties are
kept fully informed of all individual steps and procedures undertaken
by the authority from the initiation of the investigation until the
imposition of AD duty; have the opportunity to access in a timely
manner, all public/non-confidential information on the record of an
investigation; are given sufficient time to prepare their factual
and legal submissions; and are provided with an explanation (either
in a published notice or a separate report) which details the authority's
assessment of the evidence and its consideration of comments from
According to the paper, transparency and due process also benefit
the investigation authority, and enable the authority to make fair,
impartial and even-handed determinations that can withstand eventual
Such determinations are possible only where both domestic and foreign
interested parties are given sufficient opportunity to review evidence
on record and submit comments and rebuttals.
Where transparency and due process are properly observed, that would
leave fewer issues that could reasonably be raised in disputes against
the authority's determinations that may be brought before courts and
WTO Dispute Settlement Body, it said.
According to trade officials, Brazil, India, Argentina and Turkey
said they were not in a position to determine what elements on anti-dumping
could be part of the work programme until it becomes clearer what
the outcomes on the core Doha issues, particularly agriculture, will
Brazil said that agriculture "is central and progress in the
rules pillar is contingent on that."
The US said that in the absence of any consensus on the core issues,
"everything else is academic."
Several delegations said that the proposal by the FANs appeared to
be ambitious or was not "re-calibrated" to the outcomes
now being foreseen in the core Doha issues.
According to trade officials, India said a number of elements in the
paper risks imposing onerous requirements on developing and least
Australia said the paper appeared to be based on the same proposals
in the 2011 draft text which failed to secure consensus support from
On the other hand, the European Union said that members should focus
on what is realistic and doable, and that the issue of transparency
met that requirement.
The Russian Federation said that Rules was an important part of the
Doha agenda and needed to be treated with respect. It said that the
talks on transparency and due process were a good initial step forward.
New Zealand said there was much in the FANs paper it could agree with,
while Mexico said that it saw a "great deal of merit" in
According to trade officials, China said that transparency was an
essential principle and that the paper was a good basis for discussions.
However, it had concerns with some aspects of the FANs proposal.
Ambassador McCook said that he will convene the next meeting of the
Rules negotiating group on 1 July, where members will be able to comment
on a new paper from Argentina, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Peru,
and Uruguay on fisheries subsidies.
NEW PAPER ON FISHERIES SUBSIDIES
In their paper on elements for effective disciplines on fisheries
subsidies in the post-Bali work programme, Argentina, Iceland, New
Zealand, Norway, Peru and Uruguay say that they remain deeply concerned
at the state of the world's fisheries resources given the critical
importance of the fisheries sector to poverty reduction, livelihood
and food security concerns particularly in developing countries.
The paper (TN/RL/W/258) said that the desire and need to negotiate
new effective disciplines on fisheries subsidies is demonstrated by
the support for such disciplines coming from all four corners of the
globe and spanning LDCs, developing and industrialised Members.
In fact, almost 60% of the WTO's membership (which includes well over
two-thirds of developing country Members) has called for disciplines
on fisheries subsidies.
"Subsidies to the fishing sector distort the trade, economics
and politics of fishing. Subsidies distort trade by creating conditions
of unfair competition. Subsidies which underwrite the costs of harvesting
or the costs of production contribute to overcapacity in global fleets
and global overfishing, by encouraging fishing when it may otherwise
not be profitable."
Fisheries are a key resource for many Members, and subsidies can undermine
the sustainable use of their stocks, said the paper, adding that subsidies
can also affect political decision-making over management of the resource,
as well as creating uneven competition between fishing nations which
harvest and trade fish.
The paper noted that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO), in its 2014 report on the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture
(SOFIA), reported that fish now accounts for almost 17% of the global
population's intake of protein - in some coastal and island countries
it can top 70%.
Fish provided nearly 3 billion people with almost 20% of their intake
of animal protein, and 4.3 billion with about 15% of such protein.
FAO estimates that fisheries and aquaculture support the livelihoods
of 10-12% of the world's population. Since 1990 employment in the
sector has grown at a faster rate than the world's population and
in 2012 provided jobs for some 60 million people engaged in capture
fisheries and aquaculture.
According to the paper, while fish remains among the most traded food
commodities worldwide, the state of the world's fisheries have deteriorated
since the launch of the Doha Round, with almost 29% of global stocks
reported as over-fished by FAO in 2014.
"There is also diminishing room for growth in catches through
increased fishing effort, with over 60% of stocks reported as fully
exploited. This is in the context of harmful fisheries subsidies having
increased over the same period to an estimated US$20 billion and continuing
to be a major contributing factor."
The paper noted that in September 2015, world leaders will adopt the
new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
"Prohibiting certain forms of fisheries subsidies and the conclusion
of new effective WTO disciplines will be the focus of one of the targets
under an SDG on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas
and marine resources for sustainable development."
The proponents of the paper consider that any outcome on fisheries
subsidies, that provides effective and meaningful disciplines, should
contain the following elements: prohibitions focusing on some of the
most obvious subsidies around which all Members should be able to
agree to; appropriate and effective special and differential treatment;
transitional arrangements; standstill provision; transparency, monitoring
and review provisions; and continuation of the fisheries subsidies
reform process. +