WTO panel established for herring dispute

26 Feb 2014
A WTO panel has been established in the dispute between the Faroe Islands and the European Union. Credit: Atle Grimsby/CC-BY-2.0

A WTO panel has been established in the dispute between the Faroe Islands and the European Union. Credit: Atle Grimsby/CC-BY-2.0

The World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) has decided to establish a panel in the dispute between the Faroe Islands and the European Union.

The Faroe Islands requested a WTO Panel in response to the EU’s decision to enforce trade sanctions against the Faroes over the herring row. The decision on the request was postponed in January, but has now been granted. 

Faroese Prime Minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, said, “The EU has an economy that is 10,000 times bigger than that of the Faroe Islands and its coercive economic measures against the Faroe Islands have a significant impact on the entire Faroese economy. 

“This made it necessary to promptly proceed with the establishment of the WTO panel as the EU made use of its right to block the establishment during last month´s DSB meeting.”

He adds, “This is an important step and a proper avenue to seek the revocation of the EU coercive economic measures, which are in clear violation of the EU´s obligations pursuant to the WTO Agreement”.

WTO panels are like tribunals, but the panellists are usually chosen in consultation with the countries in dispute. Only if the two sides cannot agree does the WTO director-general appoint them.

Panels consist of three to five experts from different countries who examine the evidence and decide who is right and who is wrong. The panel’s report is passed to the Dispute Settlement Body, which can only reject the report by consensus.

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