WTO rules against South Korea

13 December 2000

An appeal against the World Trade Organisation ruling against South Korean restrictions on imported beef has been decided in New Zealand's favour.

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today that the WTO appellate body had confirmed that the restrictions imposed by South Korea on the importation, distribution, and sale of imported beef were inconsistent with WTO rules.

He said the appellate body also provided some useful clarification of the WTO rules for the calculation of permitted agricultural subsidies.

The appellate body ruling relates to a WTO case taken against South Korea by Australia and the United States, to which New Zealand was a third party.

South Korea appealed a number of findings in the original panel report .

Mr Sutton said the ruling represented a very good outcome for New Zealand.

"It confirms our view that the South Korean distribution and marketing system for beef discriminates against imported beef.

"New Zealand also has a strong interest in ensuring that the rules for calculating permitted agricultural subsidies are properly, and not too widely, interpreted. Although the Appellate Body felt unable to rule on the specifics of the South Korean case, it helpfully clarified the general rules in this area."

The original Panel had also ruled that South Korea discriminated against imports of grass fed beef in favour of grain fed beef. Mr Sutton said this remained an important outcome of the case for New Zealand, as a major exporter of grass fed beef.

"South Korea must now bring its measures into conformity with the WTO."

Mr Sutton said that, like the recent success in the case NZ took against the United States' safeguard measure on lamb, the ruling in the "Korea Beef" case underlined the effectiveness of our involvement in the WTO dispute settlement system and the benefits to New Zealand of the WTO's rules-based trading system.

 For more information, contact:

Cathie Bell on 04 4719855 or 025 998467

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33