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Korea - Definitive Safeguard Measure on Imports of Certain Dairy Products
Report of the Panel
F. Violation of Article 2.1 of the Agreement on Safeguards - failure to analyze "under such conditions"
7.49 In its first submission, the European Communities argues that Korea violated Article 2.1 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Article XIX:1 of GATT because Korea failed to examine under which conditions the imports occurred and in particular Korea failed to consider the prices at which the product was imported. In its second submission, the European Communities limits that specific argument (failure to examine under which conditions the imports occurred) to its claim of violation of Article 2.1 of the Agreement on Safeguards only. Korea responds that there is no requirement to examine the prices of the imports with reference to those of the like or directly competitive products as such. Korea adds that it did consider, in its overall determination under Article 2 of the Agreement on Safeguards, whether the SMPP were imported into Korea in such increased quantities and under such conditions as to cause serious injury to the domestic industry that produces like or directly competitive products to SMPP. We shall examine this EC argument only with reference to its claim under Article 2 of the Agreement on Safeguards.
7.50 Article 2 of the Agreement on Safeguards reads:
"A Member may apply a safeguard measure to a product only if that Member has determined, pursuant to the provisions set out below, that such product is being imported into its territory in such increased quantities, absolute or relative to domestic production, and under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause serious injury to the domestic industry that produces like or directly competitive products." (emphasis added).
7.51 Although the prices of the imported products will most often be a relevant factor indicating how the imports do, in fact, cause serious injury to the domestic industry, we note that there is no explicit requirement in Article 2 426, that the importing Member perform a price analysis of the imported products and the prices of the like or directly competitive products in the market of the importing country.
7.52 We consider that the phrase "and under such conditions" does not provide for an additional criterion or analytical requirement to be performed before an importing Member may impose a safeguard measure. We are of the view that the phrase "and under such conditions" qualifies and relates both to the circumstances under which the products under investigation are imported and to the circumstances of the market into which products are imported, both of which must be addressed by the importing country when performing its assessment as to whether the increased imports are causing serious injury to the domestic industry producing the like or directly competitive products. In this sense, we consider that the phrase "under such conditions" refers more generally to the obligation imposed on the importing country to perform an adequate assessment of the impact of the increased imports at issue and the specific market under investigation.
7.53 The European Communities raised various other arguments in support of its claims that Korea violated Article 4, and consequently Article 2, of the Agreement on Safeguards, namely that Korea did not adequately demonstrate the existence of serious injury and a causal link with the increased imports. 427 We shall address the EC argument that Korea did not perform an adequate assessment of whether the products under investigation were being imported into its territory in such increased quantities and under such conditions as to cause serious injury to the domestic industry when we examine the European Communities' more specific claims of inadequate serious injury and causation assessments made pursuant to Article 4.1 and 4.2 of the Agreement on Safeguards. We note that a violation of Article 4.2 or 4.3 would constitute a violation of Article 2 of the Agreement on Safeguards.
1. Korea's examination of serious injury to the domestic industry
7.54 The European Communities claims that in its evaluation of serious injury to the domestic industry Korea failed to examine correctly all relevant factors of an objective and quantifiable nature having a bearing on the situation of the domestic industry. We note that the parties are in agreement that the appropriate definition of the domestic industry in this case comprises the producers of both raw milk and milk powder, as these two products are directly competitive with SMPP when used as input for the manufacturing of downstream dairy products such as flavoured milk, fermented milk and ice cream. Thus, the parties' disagreement regards the correct examination of the relevant factors of an objective and quantifiable nature having a bearing on the situation of this industry. We also note that the complex definition of the domestic industry as including producers of both a raw material and one of its downstream products has repercussions for how the serious injury assessment on the whole domestic industry as defined has to be performed.
7.55 In conducting our review of Korea's serious injury determination we are mindful of the obligations contained in Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Safeguards. This provision mandates that competent authorities when performing a serious injury investigation:
"...shall evaluate all relevant factors of an objective and quantifiable nature having a bearing on the situation of that industry, in particular, the rate and amount of the increase in imports of the product concerned in absolute and relative terms, the share of the domestic market taken by increased imports, changes in the level of sales, production, productivity, capacity utilization, profits and losses, and employment."
This provision sets out the general principle regarding the economic factors which need to be considered in a serious injury investigation, and provides a list of factors that are a priori considered to be especially relevant and informative of the situation of the domestic industry. The use of the wording "in particular" makes it clear to us that, among "all relevant factors" that the investigating authorities "shall evaluate", the consideration of the factors listed is always relevant and therefore required, even though the authority may later dismiss some of them as not having a bearing on the situation of that industry. Under the applicable standard of review, our function is to assess whether Korea (i) examined all relevant facts in its possession or which it should have obtained in accordance with Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Safeguards at the time of the investigation; and (ii) provided an adequate explanation of how those facts as a whole supported the determination made. Thus, we shall examine whether at the time of the determination all factors listed in Article 4.2 were appropriately considered; whether the Korean authorities explained how each factor considered supports (or detracts from) a finding of serious injury; and whether valid reasons have been put forward for dismissing a considered factor as not being relevant to the serious injury determination in this case.
7.56 We note that previous panel decisions have applied similar tests in reviewing determinations by investigating authorities on the existence of serious damage in the context of a transitional safeguard under the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, and of material injury under the Tokyo Round Agreement on the Implementation of Article VI (the Anti-Dumping Code). In United States - Shirts and Blouses, the panel stated that:
"The wording of the first sentence of Article 6.3 of the ATC imposes on the importing Member the obligation to examine, at the time of its determination, at least all of the factors listed in that paragraph. The importing Member may decide -- in its assessment of whether or not serious damage or actual threat thereof has been caused to the domestic industry -- that some of these factors carry more or less weight. At a minimum, the importing Member must be able to demonstrate that it has considered the relevance or otherwise of each of the factors listed in Article 6.3 of the ATC. 428"
7.57 Even more to the point the panel in United States - Salmon, set out the following test when reviewing a material injury determination:
"[A] review of whether a determination of material injury was in conformity with this requirement necessitated an examination of whether the investigating authorities had examined all relevant facts before them (including facts which might detract from an affirmative determination) and whether a reasonable explanation had been provided of how the facts as a whole supported the determination made by the investigating authorities." 429
While the concepts of serious damage and material injury are not entirely analogous to the requirement of serious injury in the Agreement on Safeguards, we believe that the general considerations expressed by both panels on issues similar to those before us offer useful guidance as to how a panel should evaluate fulfilment of the serious injury requirement.
7.58 In our evaluation of Korea's serious injury determination there are three issues that we find particularly troublesome. First, we find that there is a lack of consideration in the OAI Report of some of the factors listed in Article 4.2. This is the case for instance for capacity utilization and productivity. In both cases Korea offers explanations in its submissions to the Panel of why it considered these factors not to bear on the situation of the domestic industry. While these explanations seem plausible, there is nothing in the OAI Report which would indicate to the Panel that these factors were taken into consideration in the serious injury finding of the Korean authorities. Second, as we noted above, the definition of the domestic industry in this case as comprising two different segments of the dairy products market has consequences for the evaluation of the situation of the industry. In assessing the serious injury to the whole domestic industry, we find that it is acceptable to analyze distinct market segments but, as stated above, all factors listed in Article 4.2 must be addressed. In considering each of the factors listed in Article 4.2, and any others found to be relevant by the authority, the investigating authority has two options: for each factor, the investigating authority can consider it either for all segments, or if it decides to examine it for only one or some segment(s), it must provide an explanation of how the segment(s) chosen is (are) objectively representative of the whole industry. A lack of consideration of all segments, without any explanation, is a flaw that we find present in Korea's analysis of the domestic industries' profits and losses, prices, debt to equity ratio, capital depletion and production cost. How Korea relates developments in one segment to its determination regarding the industry as a whole is for Korea to decide in the first instance. Our point here is that an analysis of only a segment of the domestic industry, without any explanation of its significance for the whole industry, will not satisfy the requirements of the Agreement on Safeguards. Third, we find that for certain factors considered by Korea it has failed to provide sufficient reasoning on some of the choices made in the analysis of such factors which may have affected the result of the consideration. Also, there is a lack of reasoning in some cases on how the factor considered supports (or detracts from) a finding of serious injury. This lack of explanation or reasoning is perceived in Korea's consideration of market share, production, profits and losses, employment and inventory.
7.59 Having laid out our overall concerns with Korea's compliance with its obligations under Article 4.2, we turn to the specifics of Korea's consideration of each of the factors listed in Article 4.2, as well as additional factors Korea considered in determining the existence of injury to the domestic industry. Since our task is to make an objective assessment of the factual considerations and reasoning of the Korean authorities in arriving at a finding of serious injury at the time of the determination, our analysis of Korea's compliance with the provisions in Article 4.2 will be on the basis of the OAI Report. We would also like to make it clear that even if we examine each one of the factors listed in Article 4.2 and others used by Korea, it is not our task to question the weight accorded to each factor for purposes of the final determination of serious injury. In this regard we concur with what the panel in US - Shirts and Blouses stated in examining the imposition of a safeguard measure under the ATC:
"This is not to say that the Panel interprets the ATC as imposing on the importing Member any specific method either for collecting data or for considering and weighing all the relevant economic factors upon which the importing Member will decide whether there is need for a safeguard restraint. The relative importance of particular factors including those listed in Article 6.3 of the ATC is for each Member to assess in the light of the circumstances of each case." 430
(b) Increased imports
7.60 The European Communities argues that Korea excluded certain products (mixed products) 431 from the scope of application of the measure which were nevertheless included in the calculation of the increase in imports. Korea pointed out that the import volume of these products, found on page 7 of the OAI Report, 432 shows that the excluded mixed products accounted for just 0.7, 0.8, 1,5 and 1,3 per cent of SMPP imports for the years 1993, 1994, 1995, and the first semester of 1996 respectively. After examining the figures pointed out by Korea, we consider that the excluded mixed product imports are a very minor portion of the SMPP imports. Thus, there is no basis for finding that Korea's decision not to exclude those products from the import increase calculation is inadequate for the purpose of Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Safeguards.
7.61 Based on the relevant sections in the OAI Report, we find that the Korean authorities' consideration of increased imports was adequate for the purposes of Article 4.2. Korea's assessment of the increased imports can be found from pages 32 through 35 of the OAI Report, where the progression of SMPP imports for the period under investigation both in absolute terms and relative to domestic production is detailed.
(c) Market share captured by imports
7.62 Korea's consideration of this factor can be found on page 35 of the OAI Report, where it states: "The market share of SMPP against the total demand was 1.6 per cent in 1993, 7.0 per cent in 1994, 12.2 per cent in 1995, and 14.1 per cent in Jan.-June in 1996, showing an upward trend." On its face this consideration of the total dairy market share captured by the increased imports of SMPP would seem to be correct and in compliance with the provisions of Article 4.2. However, we note that on page 16 of the OAI Report Korea defines the total market of basic materials for the production of dairy products in Korea as being composed of: raw milk produced by domestic dairy farms; milk powder produced from raw milk by processing companies, imported milk powder, imported basic materials for cheese, and other imports including SMPP. In a footnote on page 16 of the OAI Report the investigating authorities state:
"Considering the characteristics of the analysis, data on cheese import was excluded but import of cheese, which has direct influence on consumption of domestic raw milk, also has largely been increasing since import liberalization in 1995. Including the cheese import volume, the total demand comes to 2,027,713 tons in 1993, 2,249,958 tons in 1994, 2,414,525 tons in 1995, and 1,222,804 tons in Jan.-June 1996, showing the increase rates of 11.0 per cent in 1994, 7.3 per cent in 1995 and -1.4 per cent in Jan.-June 1996."
7.63 The Panel can only assume that this footnote actually refers to an exclusion of data on imported basic materials for cheese, since it would be these kinds of imports which would have a direct influence on consumption of raw milk. Also, the text that is being expanded upon in the footnote does not mention cheese as a finished product but imported basic materials for cheese. We find that this exclusion has not been sufficiently explained by Korea, even though it admits in the footnote quoted above, that these imports are part of the total market of basic materials for dairy products, that they affect consumption of raw milk and that they have increased significantly during the period of investigation. Such exclusion is not inconsequential as it may result in a decrease of the relevant market size, and a corresponding overestimation of the share of the market being captured by SMPP imports. We would like to make it clear that our view is not that this exclusion of imported basic materials for cheese from the total volume of the dairy market was necessarily incorrect. Rather, since Korea did not provide any reasoning as to why it chose to exclude this portion of the relevant market, we find that Korea's analysis of the market share captured by imports of SMPP was not adequately performed for the purpose of Article 4.2.
7.64 The Korean authorities' consideration of changes in the level of sales for the domestic industry was performed separately for raw milk and milk powder and can be found respectively at pages 38 and 45 of the OAI Report. Regarding raw milk consumption for the period of investigation the report states:
"The amount of domestic raw milk consumed was 1,844,463 tons in 1993, 1,947,128 tons in 1994, 1,947,965 tons in 1995, and 984,934 tons in the January-June period of 1996. The consumption increase rate was 5.6 per cent for 1994, 0.0 per cent for 1995, and -2.0 per cent for the January-June period of 1996." 433
7.65 Regarding milk powder consumption the Korean authorities found:
"The amount of domestic milk powder consumed was 12,191 tons for 1993, 12,468 tons for 1994, 10,690 tons for 1995 and 2,741 tons for the January-April period of 1996. In terms of increase rate, it was 2.3 per cent in 1994, -14.3 per cent in 1995 and -40.9 per cent in the January-April period of 1996." 434
7.66 We note that in the case of domestic raw milk and milk powder sales in Korea there is a decline in consumption. This decline could support the Korean authorities' finding of serious injury to the domestic industry. Thus, we find that this factor was adequately considered for the purpose of Article 4.2.
7.67 This factor was considered in the OAI Report for both the raw milk and the milk powder segments of the industry respectively at pages 38 and 45 of the OAI Report, where it is stated:
"The production amount of domestic raw milk was 1,857,873 tons in 1993, 1,917,398 tons in 1994, 1,998,445 tons in 1995, and 1,069,224 tons in the January-to-June period of 1996. The increase rate was 3.2 per cent for 1994, 4.2 per cent for 1995, and 4.4 per cent for the January-June period of 1996." 435
"The amount of domestic milk powder produced was 13,512 tons for 1993, 9,495 tons for 1994, 15,719 tons for 1995, and 10,401 tons for the January-April period of 1996. In terms of the production increase rate, it was -29.7 per cent in 1994, 65.6 per cent in 1995 and 52.6 per cent in the January- to-April period of 1996." 436
Korea later explains that it does not consider this factor to be relevant as "it was not an appropriate measure for determining the state of the domestic industry". 437 However, this explanatory statement is made in the first submission of Korea to the Panel. We fail to find any analysis by the Korean authorities at the time of the investigation, as to how these figures on production are relevant (or not) to a finding of serious injury to the domestic production. Lacking this explanation it is not possible for us to discern whether the Korean authorities' dismissal of this factor as an indicator of serious injury to the domestic industry was appropriate. Thus, we find that this factor was not adequately considered for the purpose of Article 4.2.
7.68 As described above the first task of the Panel is to examine whether all factors listed in Article 4.2 have been appropriately considered. We find that there is no mention of this factor in the OAI Report. While Korea in its submissions argues that "changes in productivity were not appropriate indicators of serious injury" and gives reasoning for this conclusion, this reasoning is not found in the OAI Report. There is no indication that Korea considered the productivity of the domestic industry when making a finding of serious injury. Thus, we find that this factor was not adequately considered for the purpose of Article 4.2.
(g) Capacity utilization
7.69 Just as in the case of productivity we fail to find any discussion in the OAI Report of the changes in capacity utilization of the domestic industry. Although this factor is mentioned in the Interim Draft Investigation Report 438 it is not brought forward in the final OAI Report on which Korea based the adoption of its safeguard measure. Thus, we find this factor was not adequately considered for the purpose of Article 4.2.
To continue with Profits and losses
426 Contrary to the explicit references to prices in Article 3 of the Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of GATT 1994 ("AD Agreement") and Article 15 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures ("SCM Agreement").
427 In its request for a panel the European Communities claimed that the Korean determinations violated Articles 2, 4, 5 and 12 of the Agreement on Safeguards.
428 US - Shirts and Blouses, para. 7.26.
429 United States - Imposition of Anti-Dumping Duties on Imports of Fresh and Chilled Atlantic Salmon from Norway, adopted 27 April 1994, ADP/87, para. 492 ("US - Salmon").
430 US - Shirts and Blouses, para. 7.52.
431 The excluded products are: milk mineral (calcium), concentrated product, Chilean special products and raw material for the production of Nestlé's Cerelac.
432 See para. 12.370, supra.
433 OAI Report, page 38.
434 Id. at 45.
435 Id. at 38.
436 Id. at 45.
437 See para. 12.364, supra.
438An extract of this draft report was submitted as Exhibit Korea-5.