Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



WTO Dispute Settlement Body Establishes a Panel in China-U.S. Poultry Case

On July 31, 2009, the World Trade Organisation announced that a panel was established of the basis of China's second request for a panel in WT/DS392 'United States - Certain measures affecting imports of poultry from China".

Under the rules of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Understanding, the establishment of a panel is automatically approved by the DSB in response to a second request for a panel by a Member. In its second request, China noted that on 11 March 2009, the US President signed the US Omnibus Appropriation Act of 2009 into law. China pointed out that Section 727 of the Act states that “none of the funds made available in this Act may be used to establish or implement a rule allowing poultry products to be imported into the United States from the People's Republic of China.

It is worth noting that the case is being watched by the EC, Guatemala, Korea and Turkey, which have reserved their third-party rights to participate in the WTO proceedings. The WTO dispute pits the rights of countries to control imports for heath reasons (good protectionism) against concerns that such controls can be abused for protectionist purposes, unfairly helping inefficient domestic producers at the expense of foreign competitors bad protectionism). This case will be important to watch because it is a test case for the future. It can reasonably be anticipated that many similar measures will be commenced in the U.S. is successful in its defence of its measures. For this reason alone, the United States will have a difficult time to defend its actions as the WTO may fear the opening of the floodgates to bad protectionism.

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