south-north development monitor - SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4410
Thursday, 8 April 1999


Trade: WTO panel rules against India in BOP dispute (Chakravarthi Raghavan)

Trade: Arbitrators set US banana 'damage' at $191 million (Chakravarthi Raghavan)

Labour: Brazil responds to work hazards (IPS, Rio de Janeiro)

United Nations: Annan remains paralysed in Yugoslav crisis (IPS, New York)

Yugoslavia: Stalemate and truce may prompt talks - Russia (IPS, Moscow)

Kosovo: Clinton spurns Yugo peace bid, hawkish mood grows (IPS, Washington)

Yugoslavia: Belgrade defies fear with songs and art (IPS, Belgrade)

Excerpts from selected articles:

Trade: WTO panel rules against India in BOP dispute

Geneva, 7 Apr (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- A World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel has ruled against India on its import restrictions maintained on ground of balance-of- payments considerations, but has suggested that India should be given more than the 15-month "guideline" normally set by arbitrators, to comply with the ruling and phase out the restrictions.

The case against India was brought by the United States.

And panel ruling against India on its BOP restrictions will not only have some adjustment problems for various sectors of Indian economy (industrial and agriculture), but also will have some systemic implications.

In a number of agreements, there are provisions for the relevant bodies, and ultimately the WTO General Council, to take decisions, including resolving differences. The WTO agreement has said that the GATT practice of decision-making by consensus, but with recourse to voting if no decision by consensus can be reached. But this is now becoming a rule, strengthening the hands of the minority, who are powerful, to use the consensus decision- making (for vetoing, often anonymously, decisions they don't want.

Trade: Arbitrators set US banana 'damage' at $191 million

Geneva, 7 Apr (Chakravarthi Raghavan) -- The 'reconvened' WTO panel on the compliance of the EC measures to implement its earlier 1997 banana ruling, which is also acting as "arbitrator" on level of damage to the US trade, has assessed the damage at $191.4 million, as against a US claim of $520 millions.

The panel which had also been hearing, on a reference by Ecuador and the EC itself, on the compliance of its measures has also apparently handed in those rulings, but its details are not yet public.

But the arbitration award of damage to the US "rights" (mainly in terms of the GATS, and the EC commitments on wholesale and retail trades) by the new EC measures implies that the new regime, at least to that extent, is not in compliance with the original ruling of the panel and appellate body.

Only a study of the details, if any, in the arbitrator's award when published (the arbitrators are precluded from going into the merits of compliance), and the rulings on the Ecuador and EC references (provided to the parties), would enable outside observers and experts to assess the systemic implications.

This includes the question on whether or not in a dispute over compliance with a ruling, the party that has won a dispute could unilaterally announce and take the sanctions route, without going through the DSU rule for a reconvened panel to rule on this.

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