At a 9 February special meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), WTO members considered India’s request for a panel to be established to examine India’s compliance with the recommendations and rulings of the DSB in a dispute over India’s domestic content requirements for solar cells and solar modules. The United States did not agree to the establishment of the compliance panel.
DS456 India — Certain Measures Relating to Solar Cells and Solar Modules
India recalled that, on 23 January 2018, it had requested the establishment of a panel to determine its compliance with rulings of the DSB in this dispute. India also recalled that it had filed its compliance status report, dated 14 December 2017, in which it informed the DSB that it has ceased to impose any measures found to be inconsistent with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings. On 19 December 2017, the United States requested authorization from the DSB to suspend concessions with respect to India due to what it said was India’s failure to comply with the rulings by the 14 December 2017 implementation deadline.
India, at the 9 February meeting, said its request for a compliance panel has been necessitated by the United States seeking suspension of concessions or other obligations. India said the logical course of action is first to have recourse to compliance proceedings under Article 21.5 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding before going into procedures related to the US request to suspend concessions.
The United States did not agree to the establishment of a compliance panel. India had not provided any evidence to demonstrate that it complies with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings, the US said. It further said that India’s request for the establishment of a panel appears to indicate that India will continue to apply WTO-inconsistent domestic content requirement measures contained in Power Purchase Agreements that India entered into before December 2016. The US reserved its rights to move forward with procedures to obtain DSB authorization to take countermeasures in relation to India’s domestic content requirements; however, it also said it remains willing to work with India to find a bilateral resolution without further proceedings. Under WTO rules, a request for the creation of a panel can be blocked in the first instance.
A number of members intervened to comment on the sequence of procedures for determining compliance and authorizing the suspension of concessions. One noted that India’s request for the establishment of a compliance panel continues a trend in the WTO’s dispute settlement practice, illustrating that such a course of action was useful and appropriate. Another member said that concessions could only be suspended once a multilateral determination had been made to determine compliance. One member referred to its previous statement calling for a proper course of action that would serve the purpose of a prompt, positive and effective resolution of disputes.
The DSB took note of the statements and deferred the establishment of a compliance panel for this dispute.
DS464 United States — Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Measures on Large Residential Washers from Korea
The United States took the floor under the agenda item of “Other Business” to inform the DSB of its intention to implement the recommendations and rulings of the DSB for this dispute in a manner that is consistent with its WTO obligations. The DSB had adopted the panel report on this dispute on 12 January 2018. The US indicated it would need a reasonable period of time to do so and was willing to pursue discussions with Korea in this regard.
Korea welcomed the notification of the United States. It said it had had fruitful consultations with the US regarding the determination of a reasonable period of time for implementing the DSB ruling. Korea said it believed both parties will soon reach a mutual agreement on this matter and that it expected the US to promptly take all necessary actions to bring its measures into conformity within what will be the agreed period.
The next regular meeting of the DSB is scheduled for 28 February 2018.