Our Academic Course Director, Associate Professor Greg Weppner, is to be congratulated for his recent appointment as a World Trade Organization (WTO) panellist to adjudicate a dispute between China and Canada. This is Greg’s second WTO panel appointment and he is one of only a small number of Australian trade experts to have been appointed to this prestigious role.
The WTO panel process is central to resolving disputes between WTO members. The panel (composed of three international experts) prepares a report of its findings on whether or not there has been a breach of a member’s WTO obligations and recommends a course of action to be implemented as a consequence.
Greg’s panel will be examining an antidumping dispute. Dumping occurs when the ‘export price’ of a product is less than its ‘normal value’ in the exporting country. Under WTO rules this is regarded as an unfair trading practice and measures (dumping duties) can be put into place to shield domestic industries from these pricing practices by the foreign exporters if it can be proved that they have caused material injury to the domestic industry. In this case, China has imposed dumping duties against imports of cellulose pulp from Canada, and Canada considers this action to be inconsistent with China’s obligations under WTO rules. China and Canada have held consultations with the view to resolving the dispute but these consultations failed and Canada requested the establishment of the panel to adjudicate the matter.