30 Sep 2015

WTI researcher presents on Peru-Agriculture case at WTO

WTI PhD candidate Carolina Palma participated as presenter and legal commentator in a discussion of the Peru-Agriculture case held at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva on 29 September. The event was organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), WTI Advisors and the government of Finland.

The workshop in the Talking Disputes series centred on the recent WTO Appellate Body report on Peru–Agricultural Products (DS457). In this dispute, Guatemala challenged additional duties imposed by Peru on imports of certain agricultural products through a “Price Range System” (PRS). The dispute also dealt with the issue of whether Guatemala’s claims were brought in good faith under Articles 3.7 and 3.10 of the dispute settlement system DSU, and whether, through the Peru-Guatemala Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the parties have modified their reciprocal WTO rights and obligations.

The Appellate Body upheld most of the panel’s conclusions and found inter alia that Guatemala did not, through the FTA, waive its right to bring a claim in the WTO against Peru. The Appellate Body ruled that the FTA and the International Law Commission’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (ILC Articles) cannot be used to interpret Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture and Article II:1(b) of the GATT 1994 as allowing the maintenance of the PRS.

Peru’s PRS was ultimately found by the Appellate Body to be WTO-inconsistent. The panel of experts  provided comments and engaged in a discussion from different angles: WTO law, public international law, FTA negotiation practices, and economic implications in the context of implementation.

Talking Disputes is a forum for experts and interested professionals from relevant fields to discuss specific WTO disputes. One or two experts present key aspects of the case, setting the stage for a targeted discussion, and designated discussants provide substantive comments.