WTO panels to review EU complaints against China
Geneva: The World Trade Organization (WTO) has set up panels to review complaints against China by the European Union (EU) regarding Chinese trade measures.
At a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on January 27, 2023, WTO members agreed to requests from the European Union for the establishment of dispute panels to examine Chinese measures affecting trade in goods and services with Lithuania as well as China’s enforcement of intellectual property rights. Members also discussed recent panel rulings regarding interpretations of the WTO’s national security exception.
At the DSB meeting on December 20, 2022, China blocked the EU’s first request for a dispute panel to examine its claims regarding
1) measures attributable to China restricting the trade in goods from or to Lithuania or linked to Lithuania; and
2) China’s enforcement of intellectual property rights.
On January 27, the European Union submitted its second request with regard to both cases.
In the case of Lithuania, the EU said it was regrettable that, despite its efforts to resolve this issue bilaterally, China did not remove its “discriminatory and coercive measures”. The EU said it was entitled to protect its member states against China’s “discriminatory” measures, which it considered to be in breach of WTO rules.
China said it regretted the EU’s decision to pursue its request for a panel and said it attaches great importance to its WTO commitments. China said it will “vigorously defend” its measures in the panel proceedings.
The DSB agreed to the establishment of a panel. The United States, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Türkiye, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Canada, Colombia, Viet Nam and India reserved their third-party rights to take part in the proceedings.
With regard to China’s enforcement of intellectual property rights, the EU reiterated the basis for its complaint, namely that the Chinese measures unduly restrict the possibility to enforce intellectual property rights in China and are inconsistent with China’s obligation under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
China said it regretted the EU’s second request for the panel. An anti-suit injunction in the field of essential patents is a novel issue that has emerged in recent years in many jurisdictions of WTO members, including the EU, and no unified international rules have been established to govern this issue, China said. China added that it will vigorously defend its legitimate measures and is ready to engage further with the EU to resolve the issue.
The DSB agreed to the establishment of a panel. Ukraine, the United States, Chinese Taipei, the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, India, Korea, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Singapore and Viet Nam reserved their third-party rights to take part in the proceedings.
– global bihari bureau