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WTO/GATT Thirty-Eighth Session at Ministerial Level Ministerial Declaration (Adopted on 29 November 1982, Geneva)

[Opening]

6. The CONTRACTING PARTIES have accordingly decided:

SAFEGUARDS

GATT RULES AND ACTIVITIES RELATING TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURES

TRADE IN AGRICULTURE

TROPICAL PRODUCTS

QUANTITATIVE RESTRICTIONS AND OTHER NON-TARIFF MEASURES

TARIFFS
MTN AGREEMENTS AND ARRANGEMENTS
STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT AND TRADE POLICY
TRADE IN COUNTERFEIT GOODS
EXPORT OF DOMESTICALLY PROHIBITED GOODS
EXPORT CREDITS FOR CAPITAL GOODS
TEXTILES AND CLOTHING
PROBLEMS OF TRADE IN CERTAIN NATURAL RESOURCE PRODUCTS
EXCHANGE RATE FLUCTUATIONS AND THEIR EFFECT ON TRADE
DUAL PRINCING AND RULES OF ORIGIN
SERVICES
ANNEX: GATT RULES AND ACTIVITIES RELATING TO DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

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WTO/GATT Thirty-Eighth Session at Ministerial Level Ministerial Declaration (Adopted on 29 November 1982, Geneva)

World Trade Organization

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WTO/GATT Thirty-Eighth Session at Ministerial Level Ministerial Declaration (Adopted on 29 November 1982, Geneva)

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURES

The CONTRACTING PARTIES:

Agree that the Understanding on Notification, Consultation, Surveillance and Dispute Settlement negotiated during the Tokyo Round (hereinafter referred to as the "Understanding") provides the essential framework of procedures for the settlement of disputes among contracting parties and that no major change is required in this framework, but that there is scope for more effective use of the existing mechanism and for specific improvements in procedures to this end;

And agree further that:

(i) With reference to paragraph 8 of the Understanding, if a dispute is not resolved through consultations, any party to a dispute may, with the agreement of the other party, seek the good offices of the Director-General or of an individual or group of persons nominated by the Director-General. This conciliatory process would be carried out expeditiously, and the Director-General would inform the Council of the outcome of the conciliatory process. Conciliation proceedings, and in particular positions taken by the parties to the dispute during conciliation, shall be confidential, and without prejudice to the rights of either party in any further proceedings under Article XXIII:2. It would remain open at any time during any conciliatory process for either party to the dispute to refer the matter to the CONTRACTING PARTIES.

(ii) In order to ensure more effective compliance with the provisions of paragraphs 11 and 12 of the Understanding, the Director-General shall inform the Council of any case in which it has not been found possible to meet the time-limits for the establishment of a panel.

(iii) With reference to paragraph 13 of the Understanding, contracting parties will co-operate effectively with the Director-General in making suitably qualified experts available to serve on panels. Where experts are not drawn from Geneva, any expenses, including travel and subsistence allowance, shall be met from the GATT budget.

(iv) The secretariat of GATT has the responsibility of assisting the panel, especially on the legal, historical and procedural aspects of the matters dealt with.

(v) The terms of reference of a panel should be formulated so as to permit a clear finding with respect to any contravention of GATT provisions and/or on the question of nullification and impairment of benefits. In terms of paragraph 16 of the Understanding, and after reviewing the facts of the case, the applicability of GATT provisions and the arguments advanced, the panel should come to such a finding. Where a finding establishing a contravention of GATT provisions or nullification and impairment is made, the panel should make such suggestions as appropriate for dealing with the matter as would assist the CONTRACTING PARTIES in making recommendations to the contracting parties which they consider to be concerned, or give a ruling on the matter, as appropriate.

(vi) Panels would aim to deliver their findings without undue delay, as provided in paragraph 20 of the Understanding. If a complete report cannot be made within the period foreseen in that paragraph, panels would be expected to so advise the Council and the report should be submitted as soon as possible thereafter.

(vii) Reports of panels should be given prompt consideration by the CONTRACTING PARTIES. Where a decision on the findings contained in a report calls for a ruling or recommendation by the Council, the Council may allow the contracting party concerned a reasonable specified time to indicate what action it proposes to take with a view to a satisfactory settlement of the matter, before making any recommendation or ruling on the basis of the report.

(viii) The recommendation or ruling made by the CONTRACTING PARTIES shall be aimed at achieving a satisfactory settlement of the matter in accordance with GATT obligations. In furtherance of the provisions of paragraph 22 of the Understanding the Council shall periodically review the action taken pursuant to such recommendations. The contracting party to which such a recommendation has been addressed, shall report within a reasonable specified period on action taken or on its reasons for not implementing the recommendation or ruling by the CONTRACTING PARTIES. The contracting party bringing the case may also ask the CONTRACTING PARTIES to make suitable efforts with a view to finding an appropriate solution as provided in paragraph 22 of the Understanding.

(ix) The further action taken by the CONTRACTING PARTIES in the above circumstances might include a recommendation for compensatory adjustment with respect to other products or authorization for the suspension of such concessions or other obligations as foreseen in Article XXIII:2, as the CONTRACTING PARTIES may determine to be appropriate in the circumstances.

(x) The Parties to a dispute would fully participate in the consideration of the matter by the CONTRACTING PARTIES under paragraph (vii) above, including the consideration of any rulings or recommendations the CONTRACTING PARTIES might make pursuant to Article XXIII:2 of the General Agreement, and their views would be fully recorded. They would likewise participate and have their views recorded in the considerations of the further actions provided for under paragraphs (viii) and (ix) above. The CONTRACTING PARTIES reaffirmed that consensus will continue to be the traditional method of resolving disputes; however, they agreed that obstruction in the process of dispute settlement shall be avoided.* It is understood that decisions in this process cannot add to or diminish the rights and obligations provided in the General Agreement.

* This does not prejudice the provisions on decision making in the General Agreement.


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