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NEWS UPDATES 25 January 2010

WTO rules in favour of Thailand in anti-dumping case against US

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Thailand won a dispute at the World Trade Organisation on Friday that it had brought against the United States over US anti-dumping measures on plastic bags, reported Reuters, citing a WTO panel said.

The result was a foregone conclusion as the US did not contest the case, which represents the latest in a series of defeats for a controversial US method of calculating duties on unfairly priced imports, known as zeroing.

"In light of our finding that Thailand has made a prima facie case of violation in respect of the measures at issue, and in the absence of arguments from the United States to the contrary, we rule in favour of Thailand," the dispute panel said in an unusually brief 41-page ruling.

Washington acknowledged that the measures challenged by Thailand were the same as those that had previously been condemned by the WTO.

WTO rules allow members to impose extra duties on goods that are dumped - imported for less than they cost in the exporting country - if that hurts businesses in the importing member. Calculating these "anti-dumping duties" typically involves comparisons of the prices of different batches of imported goods to work out the average difference in price.

In zeroing, the US authorities ignore, or treat as zero, examples where the imported goods actually cost more than at home, which results in an unfairly high duty, critics say.

All of the WTO's 153 members except the US reject zeroing, which has been condemned by various WTO bodies more than 20 times. But the US says the courts have overstepped their powers and wants the WTO to revise rules to explicitly recognise the practice.

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