This paper reviews the WTO Appellate Body Report on United States – Anti-Dumping Measures on Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) from Mexico (WT/DS282/AB/R 2 November 2005). This dispute concerns the disciplines imposed by the Anti-Dumping Agreement on WTO Members seeking to extend their anti-dumping measures beyond the original five-year period through a so-called sunset review. Our analysis focuses on the Appellate Body's finding in this case that no causation analysis is required in sunset reviews, and addresses the AB's approach towards the legal instrument that provides for the US policy in terms of sunset reviews, the Sunset Policy Bulletin. We conclude that the Anti-Dumping Agreement, as interpreted by the Appellate Body in this and other similar cases, imposes only minimal disciplines of a general nature on Members wishing to extend the anti-dumping measure beyond its original five-year period. We argue that the ‘textual’ argument relied on to support this deferential approach is weak and has resulted in undermining the practical effect of, what was considered to be, one of the major achievements of the Uruguay Round Anti-Dumping Agreement: limiting the life span of an anti-dumping measure to five years. From an economic perspective, Panels and the Appellate Body are simply debating the wrong type of questions. The prospective nature required by a sunset review analysis raises questions such as why exporters engaged in dumping in the first place, and what the conditions of the industry were so that the dumped imports caused injury. At the moment, sunset reviews seem adrift as panels and the Appellate Body fail to give guidance to Members on how to do a more economically sound and informed review.
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