Article XXI - United States Exports Restrictions
US Export Restrictions (Czechoslovakia) (Source: GATT Analytical Index)
Products at Issue
|Products at issue||
Various materials and equipment
|Type of product||
Mixed Non-Ag products
Key legal aspects
|Legal basis at issue||
|Claims at issue||
|Defences at issue||
|No of Pages (total / legal reasoning)||1|
|Request for consultations|
|Outcome of the proceedings||
Report issued, claims rejected by a vote
|Additional Info||GATT/CP.3/33 (30/05/1949) Czechoslovakia brought the matter to the Contracting Parties after approaching the US under GATT Article XXIII:1 on 02/12/1948 without a reply. Czechoslovakia complained that the US export controls violated Article I of the GATT (MFN), that export licenses were being administered contrary to Article XIII; and the non-compliance with Article XX:2 and Article XXI:b(ii), all of the GATT. The complainant referred to:-The Foreign Assistance Act of 1948 (02/04/1948) Chapter 169, sec. 112 g: no export of a commodity should be authorised to Europe if it is deemed insufficient.
- The classification of foreign destinations in different group in US Department of Commerce "Comprehensive Export Schedule" No.26 of 01/10/1948. In it, conditions range from free exports and no export licenses required, to requiring export licenses. Further, citing the US representative at the General Assembly on 02/11/1948, a reinforcement of export licensing control included "close scrutiny shipments to Eastern Europe of other items which have military significance (...) to prevent the shipment to Eastern Europe of things that would contribute significantly to the military potential of that region." The complainant also cited the statement of the acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce before a Congressional Committee on 31/01/1949: "Except for commodities in short supply shipments to Western Europe are being licensed fairly freely, but shipments to Eastern Europe have been carefully restricted."
GATT/CP.3/38 (02/06/1949) Reply by the US: Export restrictions are based on the exceptions provided in the GATT, consistent with GATT Article XX and XXI, of national security. The US replied to the request of the complainant of 03/12/1948 through a note on 04/03/1948 of the Secretary of State. "[C]ontrols for security reasons have been highly selective. We have no desire to deny license applications where the product was for a peaceful use." The defendant also highlighted the available appeals procedure used by Czechoslovakia to bring rejected applications before a board for review. Commodities with unlikely military use did not require an export license. Noted the lack of supportive documentation from Czechoslovakia.
GATT/CP.3/39 (08/06/1949) Reply by Czechoslovakia: Requests for export licenses are made for non-military purposes. Concern over wide interpretation of GATT Article XXI Security Exceptions. US Foreign Assistance Act aims at US national interest and not equitable international distribution, which does not comply with GATT Article XX:2(a). Finally, the distinction between importing Contracting Parties to determine the need of export licenses violated GATT Article I.
GATT/CP.3/SR.22 (08/06/1949) Contracting Parties Third Session - Summary Record of the Twenty-Second Meeting (08/06/1949)
On the agenda item requested by Czechoslovakia: whether or not the government of the US had failed to carry out its obligations under the GATT through its administration of the issuance of export licenses, Czechoslovakia read GATT/CP.3/39. The US responded and requested the dismissal of the request. The Contracting Parties presented their views. Chairman: proposal to set up a Working Party had not found support, so the Contracting Parties should give a decision under GATT Article XXIII:2. Czechoslovakia requested a vote by roll-call, which resulted in: 1 affirmative (Czechoslovakia); 17 negatives; 3 abstentions; 2 absent. Czechoslovakia: "could not consider that the Contracting Parties had made a legally valid decision or correct interpretation of the General Agreement. In consequence, his Government would regard itself free to take any steps necessary to protect its national interests."
Note: The vote was not submitted for adoption.