WTO dispute panel on EU's rules on biotech products postpones decision until end of August on parties' request

July 16, 2004

Geneva, 15 July 2004

European Communities - measures affecting the approval and marketing of biotech products. Communication from the Chairman of the Panel. Document WT/DS291/25 WT/DS292/19 WT/DS293/19 14 July 2004 (04-3026). Full text [Links may may not display the document on the first try. If this happens, leave your browser open and click the link again]

The following communication, dated 12 July 2004, addressed to the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), is circulated in accordance with Article 12.9 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU).

Article 12.8 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU) provides that the period in which a panel shall conduct its examination, from the date that the composition and terms of reference of the panel have been agreed upon until the date the final report is issued to the parties to the dispute, shall, as a general rule, not exceed six months.

Article 12.9 of the DSU provides that when a panel considers that it cannot issue its report within six months, it shall inform the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) in writing of the reasons for the delay together with an estimate of the period within which it will issue its report.

The Panel in European Communities - Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products (WT/DS291, WT/DS292 and WT/DS293) was established by the DSB on 29 August 2003 and composed on 4 March 2004.

Due, inter alia, to the parties' common request for additional time to prepare their rebuttals, the Panel will not be able to complete its work in six months. In view of the substantial amount of documentation submitted as well as certain outstanding procedural issues, the Panel is not in a position, at this time, to provide an estimate of the period within which it will issue its report. The Panel will provide the DSB with such an estimate as soon as possible, most likely before the end of August 2004.

World Trade Organisation

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