Monday, April 28, 2014

Cuba Files its First Dispute Settlement Case at the WTO

Cuba has partipated as a third party in a number of dispute settlement proceedings at the World Trade Organization (WTO) since it joined in 1995, but it has now assumed a new role as complainant for the first time.  Cuba has requested the establishment of a panel to examine certain Australian measures relating to trademarks, geographical indications, and other packaging requirements for tobacco (DS458).  Cuba claims these measures violate Australia's obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).  Australia claims the measures are intended to discourage smoking and, as such, are legitimate measures designed to protect public health.  The Dominican Republic has filed a similar complaint against Australia (DS441).  In the interest of efficiency, Australia accepted Cuba's first request for the establishment of a panel so the two matters could be handled together.  Several third parties are also participating.

In other WTO news, the WTO also established a panel to examine Argentina's complaint that the European Union is violating its WTO obligations with respect to the imposition of anti-dumping duties on biodiesel from Argentina.

The United States requested the establishment of a dispute settlement panel with respect to India’s domestic content requirements under  Phase I and Phase II of a solar energy programme  known as the National Solar Mission (NSM). The United  States is of the view that the domestic content requirements of the NSM  breach India’s obligations under the GATT 1994 and the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs).  India did not agree to the establishment of a panel because it believes a settlement of the matter is still possible, so the matter was deferred to the next Dispute Settlement Body meeting.


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