Thailand - Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines - Communication from the Philippines

Thailand – Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes
from the Philippines

Communication from the Philippines

The following communication, received on 9 March 2020, was received from the delegation of the Philippines with the request that it be circulated to the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).

 

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1.       The Philippines thanks the Chair for the opportunity to present its request, under Article 22.2 of the DSU for authorization to suspend the application to Thailand of concessions or other obligations under the covered agreements, in the dispute Thailand – Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines, or "DS371".

2.       The Philippines regrets that the work of the DSB has been delayed this week and thanks the Chair for resuming the meeting to take up all matters in the agenda. The Philippines appreciates that the DSB is now properly taking up consideration of our Article 22.2 request.

3.       The Philippines notes with respect Thailand's concerns relating to the application of the provisions of the Sequencing Understanding and the current impasse at the AB level of the WTO dispute resolution system which we have just discussed today under Agenda item 9. As Thailand has stated, there are far reaching implications for the rules-based WTO system and this serves as well now as an opportunity for Members to express their own views on this important matter of a conflict between Article 22 and 21.5 rights and obligations and procedures, while also touching upon the viability and integrity of the WTO dispute settlement system.

4.       The Philippines takes exception however to the characterization that the Philippines is attempting to act unilaterally. This is the very reason the Philippines is before the DSB today and also last February 28, i.e., in order to seek proper and appropriate multilateral authorization to suspend concessions pursuant to the clear provisions of Article 22 of the DSU.

5.       Thailand had already agreed to two reasonable periods of time (RPTs) for the implementation of the DSB's adopted recommendations and rulings, which apply to distinct measures. The first period expired on 15 May 2012, and the second expired on 15 October 2012.

6.       On 1 June 2012, the Philippines and Thailand did conclude a Sequencing Understanding which was notified to the Chair of the DSB on 7 June 2012 for distribution to the members of the DSB in WT/DS371/16, which was expressly stated to be without prejudice to their respective rights and obligations under the DSU, including the Philippines rights under Article 22, and Thailand expressly committed not to object to the exercise of the Philippines rights under Article 22 and Thailand expressly preserved its rights to Article 22.6 arbitration.