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Measures Affecting the Importation of Rice

Key Facts
Short Title: Turkey — Rice
Respondent: Turkey
Third Parties: Argentina; Egypt; European Communities; Korea; Pakistan; Australia; Thailand;
Complaintant(s): United States;
Dispute Number: DS334
Link to Dispute Site: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds334_e.htm
Dispute Subject(s): Import Measures; Rice;
Dispute Status: Concluded
Complaint by the United States.

On 2 November 2005, the United States requested consultations with Turkey concerning the latter's import restrictions on rice from the United States. According to the request, Turkey requires an import license to import rice but fails to grant such licenses to import rice at Turkey's bound rate of duty. According to the request, Turkey also operates a tariff-rate quota for rice imports requiring that, in order to import specified quantities of rice at reduced tariff levels, importers must purchase specified quantities of domestic rice, including from the Turkish Grain Board (TMO), Turkish producers, or producer associations ("the domestic purchase requirement").

The request lists more than ten measures through which Turkey has allegedly maintained the foregoing restrictions on rice imports, including Decree No. 96/7794 related to the General Assessment of the Regime Regarding Technical Regulations and Standardization for Foreign Trade (Official Gazette, No. 22541, 1 February 1996, Repeated).

The United States considers that the foregoing measures are inconsistent with the following provisions:

* Article 2.1 and paragraph 1(a) of Annex 1 of the TRIMs Agreement;

* Articles III (including paragraphs 4, 5, and 7) and XI:1 of the GATT 1994;

* Article 4.2 of the Agriculture Agreement; and

* Articles 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 3.2, 3.3, 3.5(a), 3.5(b), 3.5(d), 3.5(e), 3.5(f), 3.5(g), 3.5(h), 3.5(k), 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, and 5.4 of the Import Licensing Agreement.

On 16 November 2005, Australia and Thailand requested to join the consultations. On 6 February 2006, the United States requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 17 February 2006, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 17 March 2006, the DSB established a panel. Australia, China, the European Communities, Korea and Thailand reserved their third-party rights. Subsequently, Argentina, Egypt and Pakistan reserved their third-party rights. On 20 July 2006, the United States requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On 31 July 2006, the Director-General composed the panel.

On 31 January 2007, the Chair of the Panel informed the DSB that it would not be possible to complete its work within six months due to the nature and scope of the dispute and that the Panel expected to complete its work by May 2007, as envisaged in the timetable adopted after consultations with the parties. On 25 May 2007, the Chair of the Panel informed the DSB that due to adjustments in the timetable, the Panel would not be able to complete its work by May. The Panel estimated that it would issue its final report to the parties in June 2007.

On 21 September 2007, the Panel report was circulated to Members. The Panel found that Turkey's decision, from September 2003 and for different periods of time, to deny, or fail to grant, Certificates of Control to import rice outside of the tariff rate quota, constitutes a quantitative import restriction, as well as a practice of discretionary import licensing, within the meaning of footnote 1 to Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture. Accordingly, it is a measure of the kind which have been required to be converted into ordinary customs duties and is therefore inconsistent with Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture. The Panel also concluded that Turkey's requirement that importers must purchase domestic rice, in order to be allowed to import rice at reduced-tariff levels under the tariff quotas, accorded less favourable treatment to imported rice than that according to like domestic rice, in a manner inconsistent with Article III:4 of the GATT 1994.

On 22 October 2007, the DSB adopted the Panel report.

Implementation Status of Adopted Reports

On 20 November 2007, Turkey informed the DSB that it was in the process of implementing the DSB rulings and recommendations and that it had already engaged in consultations with the United States to explore what additional steps might be taken to ensure a mutually satisfactory outcome. On 9 April 2008, Turkey and the United States informed the DSB that they had agreed that the reasonable period of time for Turkey to comply with the recommendations and rulings of the DSB shall be six months expiring on 22 April 2008. On 7 May 2008, Turkey and the United States notified the DSB of an Agreement regarding procedures under Articles 21 and 22 of the DSU.

Panel Proceedings
Brief DateBrief Description
02/20/2007U.S. Comments on Turkey's Answers to the Second Set of Questions from the Panel (pdf)
02/06/2007Answers of the United States to Questions from the Panel and from Turkey following the Second Panel Meeting (pdf)
01/25/2007Executive Summary of the Opening Oral Statement of the United States at the Second Panel Meeting (pdf)
01/18/2007Closing Oral Statement of the United States at the Second Panel Meeting (pdf)
01/17/2007Opening Oral Statement of the United States at the Second Panel Meeting (pdf)
12/15/2006Executive Summary of the Rebuttal Submission of the United States (pdf)
12/14/2006Rebuttal Submission of the United States (pdf)
11/30/2006Answers of the United States to Questions from the Panel following the First Panel Meeting (pdf)
11/17/2006Executive Summary of the Opening Statement of the United States at the First Panel Meeting (pdf)
11/09/2006Closing Statement of the United States at the First Panel Meeting (pdf)
11/08/2006Opening Statement of the United States at the First Panel Meeting (pdf)
09/27/2006Executive Summary of the First Written Submission of the United States (pdf)
09/20/2006First Written Submission of the United States (pdf)