The European Commission
has requested the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to set up a Panel over the unfair Korean shipbuilding practices, at its next regular meeting of 24 June. This decision has been taken further to the failure of bilateral and or WTO consultations to reach an amicable solution to this long-standing dispute. EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said: "It is regrettable that Korea has shown no real will to resolve the issue in an amicable manner. In particular, we deplore the fact that Korea has failed to respect its commitments under the bilateral Agreement with the EU signed in June 2000 (the so-called Agreed Minutes). Furthermore Korea has made no efforts to find a solution during the three rounds of WTO consultations which have taken place since October 2002. This lack of progress has left us with no option but to take Korea to the WTO".
The request addresses both the issue of export and actionable subsidies granted to Korean yards whether in the form of export financing by the government-owned Korean Export-Import Bank (KEXIM) or through restructuring subsidies (notably to Daewoo).
In a Decision published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 19 October 2002 (OJ L 281/15) the Commission announced the initiation of dispute settlement procedures against Korea under
the relevant WTO provisions. The European Commission has now officially notified the WTO of its request for a Panel under Article 6 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding.