The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) wishes to notify the public that the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panels in the Hormones disputes (WT/DS320 and WT/DS321) have agreed to the request of the United States, the European Communities and Canada to open their substantive meetings with the parties to the public.
The proceedings, to be held on September 12-15, 2005, will be broadcast via closed circuit television to a separate viewing room at WTO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The WTO Secretariat has set aside 400 seats for the public, and interested parties may reserve seats on a first-come, first-served basis by filling out and returning to the WTO a form found on the WTO website:
by midnight (Geneva time) August 26, 2005. All applications will be handled exclusively by the WTO, and further details on the hearing may be found on the WTO website.
This decision marks the first time in the history of the WTO that panel meetings will be made public. The United States has advocated taking this step for years, including by asking its counterparts in every dispute whether they would agree to open meetings in those disputes. The United States is pleased that Canada and the European Communities agreed to do so in the Hormones disputes.
For more information about this dispute, see the WTO website at http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds320_e.htm