Saudi Arabia – Measures Concerning the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights
Communication from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The following communication, dated 2 June 2020, was received from the delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the request that it be circulated to the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).
Systemic Issue of the Lack of Remedy to the Breach of Confidentiality
in WTO Dispute Settlement Proceedings
In the final stage of the WTO dispute Saudi Arabia – Measures Concerning the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (DS567), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia suffered a violation of WTO rules to which the Panel has refused to remedy. Given the systemic nature of this violation and of the dispute generally, Saudi Arabia feels responsible to bring this violation to the attention of WTO Members through the Dispute Settlement Body.
In short, in violation of the WTO Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, the Working Procedures of the Panel, and explicit instructions of the Panel, confidential information regarding the uncirculated Panel Report was disclosed and published, causing grave prejudice to the interests of Saudi Arabia. The published information falsely represented the findings of the Panel, but Saudi Arabia is unable to rebut the false narrative without disclosing the actual findings of the Panel, which would violate applicable WTO rules. The Panel refused to provide a limited exception from the confidentiality rules to allow Saudi Arabia to correct publicly the malicious misrepresentation of the Panel's findings. Although the truth will come out with the expected circulation of the Panel Report on 16 June 2020, the damage has been done.