WASHINGTON - The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced
today that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body upheld a previous
WTO panel report that stated the United States had acted consistently with its WTO
obligations in a case involving the application of US trade remedy laws to Japanese
corrosion-resistant carbon steel flat products. Japan had appealed the panel report, which addressed a
determination by the U.S. Department of Commerce to leave in place an antidumping duty order
on these Japanese steel products as a result of a "sunset review."
Such reviews are part of the process of administering the U.S.
antidumping duty law. The United States remains committed to using its trade remedy laws to
maintain a level playing field.
The Appellate Body findings are significant because they allow the
United States to keep in place the antidumping duty order on these Japanese steel products.
The Appellate Body agreed with the United States that Commerce had relied upon
sufficient evidence in this particular sunset review, and did not disturb the Panel's finding
that Commerce had properly conducted the review.
The Appellate Body, however, reversed the Panel's conclusion that
Commerce's Sunset Policy Bulletin, which provides guidance on Commerce's conduct of
sunset reviews, can only be challenged with respect to its application in a particular
sunset review. This finding did not, however, affect the Appellate Body's main finding that
the United States may maintain the antidumping duty order at issue. Further, Japan did
not challenge those aspects of an earlier panel report that confirmed that US laws and
regulations governing sunset reviews comply with the WTO Antidumping Agreement.
Japan also did not challenge any aspects of the panel report
related to the US International Trade Commission's separate determination that revocation of the
order would be likely to lead to a continuation or recurrence of injury.
Every five years, the U.S. antidumping duty law requires that the
Commerce Department conduct a "sunset review" to examine whether dumping is likely to
continue or recur if the duties are removed. The USITC must conduct a "sunset review" to
examine whether revocation of the order is likely to lead to continuation or
recurrence of injury to the U.S. industry within the reasonably foreseeable future. In the case
involving Japanese steel, the Commerce Department and the USITC determined that dumping and
injury were likely to continue or recur absent the order. Therefore, the United States
kept the duties in place.
On January 30, 2002, Japan requested WTO dispute settlement
consultations with the United States regarding the U.S. system of sunset reviews. Consultations
were unsuccessful, and a panel was established on May 22, 2002. In a report circulated on
August 14, 2003, the panel found that the United States' action was wholly consistent with
its international obligations under the WTO.
On September 15, 2003, Japan appealed five of the panel's
findings. The Appellate Body rejected several of Japan's claims, and concluded that the United
States had not violated the WTO Antidumping Agreement.
The Panel and Appellate Body reports are expected to be adopted by
the WTO Dispute Settlement Body in January, 2004.