Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dispute Panel constituted for Canada's FIT program

The WTO website has announced the constitution of a panel for the dispute regarding the Feed-in Tariff program of Canada which the EU brought to the WTO. It has been clubbed with an earlier case which Japan had brought before the WTO in the same matter. The announcement is found here:
"DS426: Canada — measures relating to the feed-in tariff program
The DSB established a panel following the EU’s first-time request (WT/DS426/5).
The EU said that consultations with Canada were useful to set out and explain both parties’ interests and concerns, but they failed to result in a satisfactory adjustment of the matter. The EU was seriously concerned about the measures at stake considering the EU’s significant commercial interest in the area of renewable energy technologies, including in the Canadian market, and the negative effects that this kind of measure would have on the world-wide deployment of low-carbon technologies for the generation of electricity. Feed-in-tariff (FIT) programmes should be designed and implemented in a way that does not discriminate against foreign goods.
Canada expressed disappointment regarding the EU’s request for the establishment of a panel. The consultations held with the EU were helpful, but they did not seem to have been sufficient to satisfy the EU’s concerns. According to Canada, the Ontario FIT programme was established to increase the supply of renewable energy in that province and it supported Ontario’s committed transition from coal-fired electricity generation. Canada said it was confident that its FIT programme was consistent with its WTO obligations. Canada mentioned that at Japan’s request the DSB had recently established a panel (WT/DS412) to consider the same measures now challenged by the European Union. Canada had held consultations with the EU, Japan and the existing panel in the other dispute to determine whether harmonization of the timetables would be feasible. According to Canada, as a result of those consultations, in order to allow the proceedings in the two disputes to be promptly harmonized, Canada had agreed to the establishment of a panel and would move quickly with the EU to compose the same panel.
Japan said that it was supportive of the principle of harmonization and informed the DSB that the panel in WT/DS412 had decided to harmonize the timetables in both cases by postponing the first substantive meeting by almost two months. Japan regretted the panel’s decision. Japan added that a two-month delay could not be considered as minimum or insignificant. Japan said that it could object to the establishment of the panel to preserve its rights but had decided not to do so in a spirit of co-operation and on the understanding that the timetable subsequent to the first meeting would be expedited so as to compensate the initial delay in the case WT/DS412. Japan said that it trusted the panel’s assurance that any new harmonized timetable would be drafted with a view to keeping the delay in WT/DS412 to a minimum.

China, Japan, Australia, India, the US, Chinese Taipei and Saudi Arabia reserved their third-party rights."
Will be looking forward to the arguments very carefully.


Anonymous said...

When do you expect the arguments to be available to review?

Srikar said...

Awaiting them as much as you are!

Srikar said...

Anonymous, your wait ends. The WTO would have its first public hearing in DS 412 on 27th march 2012 as announced in the WTO website here -