This dispute concerns the imposition by Mexico of countervailing duties on imports of olive oil from the European Communities.
On 12 March 2003, the Mexican company Fortuny de México, SA de CV ("Fortuny"), filed an application for the imposition of countervailing duties on olive oil originating in the European Communities (mainly from Spain and Italy). Fortuny's application alleged that during the period April-December 2002, subsidized imports of virgin and refined olive oil from the European Communities materially retarded the establishment of a domestic industry producing identical or similar products.4
On 2 July 2003, the Minister of Economy signed a resolution accepting the application and initiating the investigation.
On 4 July 2003, Mexico invited the European Communities to consultations pursuant to Article 13.1 of the SCM Agreement.5 On 11 July 2003, the European Communities sent a letter accepting the invitation.6 The consultations took place in Mexico City on 17 July 2003.7
The Initiation Resolution was published in the Official Journal on 16 July 2003.8 The investigation covered virgin olive oil, including the categories of extra virgin, fine virgin and ordinary virgin; refined, including first-class refined and second-class refined; and blended oil, including first-class blends and second-class blends. These goods were classified in tariff sub-headings 1509.10.01, 1509.10.99, 1509.90.01, 1509.90.02 and 1509.90.99 of the Mexican Tariff Schedule.9
The investigation covered the period April-December 200210 ("Period of Investigation" or "POI"). The examination of "trends" in the context of the injury analysis covered the periods 1 April-31 December of 2000, 2001 and 2002 11("Injury Investigation Period" or "Injury POI").
During the course of the investigation, there were numerous communications and exchanges, including questionnaires, comments and submissions between the Mexican investigating authority, the Ministry of Economy ("Economía") and the parties to the investigation: Fortuny, the European Commission, the governments of the exporting EC Member States, importers, and exporters. Mexico and the European Communities also held consultations on 17 November 2003 and 2 December 2004.12
On 10 June 2004, Economía published the Preliminary Resolution in the Official Journal. The Resolution continued the investigation and imposed provisional countervailing duties on a per kilogram basis. To determine the specific amount payable on each shipment, the maximum duty payable in respect of the individual exporter, calculated on an ad valorem basis, was added to the customs value of the shipment, up to a maximum per kilogram reference price.13
On 1 August 2005, Mexico published the Final Resolution in the Official Journal, which imposed definitive countervailing duties. Individual rates of countervailing duties were imposed on imports from eight Spanish and Italian olive oil exporters and on "all other imports" from the EC. The per exporter duty amounts, calculated on a per kilogram basis, were added to the customs value of the imports, up to a maximum per kilogram reference price.14