WTO: 2012 NEWS ITEMS.5 January 2012At the joint requests of Canada, Mexico and the US, WTO members meeting as the Dispute Settlement Body agreed on 5 January 2012 to extend to 23 March 2012 the deadline for the adoption or appeal of the panel reports in the case about country of origin labelling (COOL) requirements.
DS384: United States — Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements and DS386: United States — Certain Country of Origin Labelling Requirements
The panel that examined two complaints brought respectively by Canada and Mexico, regarding US country of origin labelling (COOL) requirements — DS384 and DS386 — circulated its reports (WT/DS384/R and WT/DS386/R) on 18 November 2011.
Under Article 16.4 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), the 60-day period within which the DSB is obliged to adopt a panel report that is not appealed would have expired on 18 January 2012.
The US, Canada and Mexico jointly requested that the DSB adopt draft decisions (WT/DS384/11 and WT/DS386/10) to extend the 60-day time period to 23 March 2012. The three parties said that these requests were made to take into account the current workload of the Appellate Body.
The DSB agreed to extend the deadline accordingly to 23 March 2012.
Canada said that while there had been several such decisions in recent months, they were and must remain exceptional in nature.
The US viewed decisions of this nature to be exceptional and taken in response to the unusual circumstances in which members and the Appellate Body found themselves.
Mexico would have preferred to have the ordinary timetable of disputes but was ready to cooperate, taking into account this special situation regarding the Appellate Body workload.
Japan referred to its statements from the previous DSB meetings on 21 April 2011, 27 September 2011, 11 November 2011 and 19 December 2011. Japan added that a decision of this kind must remain an exception.