TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr16/04)
12 April 2016
Third World Network

Brazil files disputes at WTO over bovine meat, sugar subsidies
Published in SUNS #8215 dated 6 April 2016

Geneva, 5 Apr (Kanaga Raja) -- Brazil has initiated dispute proceedings at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over certain Indonesian measures on bovine meat imported from Brazil as well as over alleged subsidies provided by Thailand to its sugar industry.

Both are in the form of requests for consultations, the first step in the dispute settlement process.

According to trade officials, in its request for consultations with Indonesia dated 4 April 2016, Brazil challenged measures that result in an import ban on certain bovine meat products, a quantitative restriction on bovine meat products and discrimination between Brazil and other suppliers of these products.

Brazil has also challenged a number of specific measures including restrictions, quarterly import quotas, discriminatory assignment of quotas, certain sanitary measures as well as technical regulations and import licensing requirements.

In its request for consultations with Thailand, also dated 4 April 2016, Brazil complained that Thailand imposes a quota and price control system that guarantees a high price for sugar produced for domestic consumption and cross-subsidizes sugar produced in excess of this quota which must be exported.

According to Brazil, Thailand also provides additional payments to cane sugar growers and subsidies to convert agricultural land from rice to cane production, and to develop additional manufacturing capacity to turn cane into sugar.

According to trade officials, Brazil said that these measures violate Thailand's obligations under the Agreement on Agriculture and the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) Agreement, as the export subsidies are not specified in Thailand's schedule.

In addition, the domestic support exceeds the total levels specified in Thailand's schedule and in some cases are prohibited under the SCM Agreement.

Both respectively are the fifth and sixth disputes initiated by WTO Members so far this year.

According to trade officials, 13 requests for consultations were filed by WTO Members in 2015, while 14 requests were filed in 2014.

Under the WTO dispute settlement procedures, when a request for consultation is made, the Member to which the request is made shall reply to the request within 10 days after the date of its receipt and enter into consultations in good faith within a period of no more than 30 days after the date of receipt of the request.

If the consultations fail to settle the dispute within 60 days after the date of receipt of the request for consultations, the complaining party (Brazil) may request the establishment of a panel. +