Greek Increase of Bound Duty

Other titles

Greece Phonograph Records (Source: GATT Analytical Index)


Third Parties

Products at Issue

Products at issue
Long-playing phonograph records (gramophone records and cylinders) and refrigerators
Type of product
Product sub-type
Machinery; electrical and electronic equipment

Related disputes


Key legal aspects

Legal basis
  • n.a.
Claims raised
  • GATT Article XIX
  • GATT Article XXVIII
  • Schedule XXV (Annecy, Torquay)
Defences raised
  • GATT Article XIX:2


Type Group of Customs Experts
Other members Howey (Canada), Fiala (Czechoslovakia), van Alphen (Netherlands), Saarer (Norway)


Type Group of Customs Experts
Legal basis at issue
  • n.a.
Claims at issue
  • GATT Article XIX
  • GATT Article XXVIII
  • Schedule XXV (Annecy, Torquay)
Defences at issue
  • GATT Article XIX:2
No of Pages (total / legal reasoning) 2
  • -
  • Not in report conclusions
  • Not in report conclusions
  • Inconsistency found
  • Not in report conclusions


Outcome of the proceedings
Report issued, mutually agreed solution, request withdrawn
Additional Info L/575 (02/11/1956) Greek Increase of Bound Duty - Statement submitted by the Delegation of Germany requesting to place the item on the agenda of the Intersessional Committee. "The complaint is directed against the Greek increases of import duties put into force by the Greek Government on 3 October 1956 as far as they exceed the tariff concessions contained in Schedule XXV (Greece) - with due regard to the increases of specific duties effected by the Greek Government on the strength of the authority granted to it by the decision of the Contracting Parties of 24 October 1953.""The Greek Government having invoked Article XIX and the consultations provided for by that Article having been initiated, the German delegation does not insist on the complaint being discussed before the Contracting Parties. However, it reserves the right to return to the matter if the consultations should show that the conditions or an action under Article XIX do not exist."

(Original not underlined.)

SR.11/12 (10/11/1956) Contracting Parties Eleventh Session - Summary Record of the Twelfth Meeting (05/11/1956) Chairman: "it did not appear necessary to appoint a panel to examine this complaint but he proposed to convene a meeting of customs experts which would discuss the matter with representatives for Germany and Greece. Any delegation with particular interest could participate in the discussions." (Original not underlined)

SR.11/16 (26/11/1956) Contracting Parties Eleventh Session - Summary Record of the Sixteenth Meeting (16/11/1956) Presentation of the Report by the Group of Experts (L/580). Greece: "view that long-playing records were a new article, different in several aspects from records of the standard type. They accordingly considered that they had the right to reclassify this product under another tariff item and to increase the import duty." The bound duty related to the only type that existed at the time of negotiations (Annecy and Torquay). "The practice generally followed for the assimilation of new products to existing tariff items, to which the Report referred, could not be applied in this case." Germany agreed that the question be referred to the Intersessional Committee and thought it appropriate "that the Committee should nominate, if it thought desirable, a working party of experts (...)" The Contracting Parties referred the "item for consideration by the Intersessional Committee which could appoint a working party if deemed desirable."

L/580 (09/11/1956) Greek Increase in Bound Duty - Report by the Group of Experts: The Group examined the Greek decision to impose a higher ad valorem duty on long playing records than that agreed to with respect to gramophone records. The Group agreed that the practice generally followed in classifying new products was to apply the tariff item by name, or to assimilate the new products to existing items in accordance with the principles established by the national tariff legislation. Noting that when this item was negotiated the parties had not placed any qualification upon the words "gramophone record", the Group considered that Greece should have resorted to procedures provided in the GATT for a modification in the bound rate.

SR.12/21 (11/12/1957) Contracting Parties Twelfth Session - Summary Record of the Twenty-First Meeting (29/11/1956) The complaint by Germany had been referred to the Intersessional Committee for further examination. "At the request of the German Government the question had been left to be dealt with by the Contracting Parties at this Session. Meanwhile, the Intersessional Committee had asked to the Executive Secretary to obtain from the Customs Cooperation Council in Brussels an advisory opinion on the question of customs classification involved in this complaint. The reply of the Council had been distributed in L/726 and Add.1. The German and Greek delegations, after consulting on this question during the Session, had issued a joint statement, in document L/765, on the results of further bilateral consultations." Greece: "consultations had been held in a spirit of understanding and compromise his Government had agreed to reduce the rate of duty".

L/765 (26/11/1957) Greek Increase in Bound Duties - Statement submitted by the Delegations of Greece and the Federal Republic of Germany :"Following those negotiations, the Greek Government had agreed to bind item (...) In these circumstances, the Federal German Government no longer asks for a ruling on the question of principle and, in a conciliatory spirit, agrees to withdraw the complaint which it had submitted to the Contracting Parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade."

SCM/W/48 (11/05/1983) Negotiating History of Article 18:9 and the Treatment of Reports of Working Parties and Panels under Article XXIII of the General Agreement - Factual Note by the Secretariat - Annex Dispute Settlement by the Contracting Parties and by the Council - A. Tabular list of Article XXIII complaints in chronological order: Increase in bound duties (long-playing records) - Action taken: "Following the report of customs experts, the parties agreed on a compromise duty rate in November 1957. Germany withdrew [the] complaint."

Note: Germany presents the matter as a complaint and the matter is referred to as a complaint to the Contracting Parties. The matter then becomes political and was not referred to a panel, but to a group of customs experts.