The Chair of the Negotiating Group on Rules has issued a new working document: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/rulesneg_e/rules_may08_annexa_e.doc Of course, I skipped right to the zeroing part.
Here's what the Chairman's Text (TN/RL/W/213) from last year said:
2.4.3 When the authorities aggregate the results of multiple comparisons in order to establish the existence or extent of a margin of dumping, the provisions of this paragraph shall apply:
(i) when, in an investigation initiated pursuant to Article 5, the authorities aggregate the results of multiple comparisons of a weighted average normal value with a weighted average of prices of all comparable export transactions, they shall take into account the amount by which the export price exceeds the normal value for any of the comparisons.
(ii) when, in an investigation initiated pursuant to Article 5, the authorities aggregate the results of multiple comparisons of normal value and export prices on a transaction-to-transaction basis or of multiple comparisons of individual export transactions to a weighted average normal value, they may disregard the amount by which the export price exceeds the normal value for any of the comparisons.
(iii) when, in a review pursuant to Articles 9 or 11, the authorities aggregate the results of multiple comparisons, they may disregard the amount by which the export price exceeds the normal value for any of the comparisons.
The "Delegations' Comments on Chairman's Text" were summarized as follows:
Numerous delegations expressed the view that zeroing is a biased and partial method for calculating the margin of dumping which inflates anti-dumping duties, and that its use could nullify the results of trade liberalization efforts (see TN/RL/W/214/Rev.3), and therefore considered that the Chairman's text on zeroing was unacceptable. Accordingly, twenty delegations co-sponsored a Working Paper that proposed alternative language that would prohibit a Member from disregarding the amount by which the export price exceeds the normal value for any comparisons in all proceedings, including original investigations, proceedings under Articles 9.3 and 9.5 and reviews under Articles 11.2 and 11.3, and in respect of all methodologies (see TN/RL/W/215). They further proposed to make clear that Article 2.4.2 applies in all proceedings, to set a minimum time period on the basis of which a margin of dumping could be calculated, and to require consistency between the methodology used in an original investigation and a subsequent proceeding pursuant to Article 9.3.
Other delegations had different views about the Chairman's text. Some of these delegations believed that while the draft text went too far, zeroing might be permitted in some contexts. In particular, a number of delegations expressed the view that zeroing should be permitted in the context of the weighted average-transaction comparison methodology ("targeted dumping"), while it was also suggested that the same methodology need not necessarily be applied in original investigations as in the context of duty collection. One delegation considered that the Chairman's text permitted zeroing in certain contexts but prohibited it in the most common comparison methodology in investigations, and insisted that a restoration of zeroing in all contexts was necessary to return to the status quo that emerged from the Uruguay Round. This delegation could not conceive of a result that did not address zeroing.
Delegations on all sides of the issue emphasized how critical the issue was to their delegations.
And finally here was the "Consolidated Proposals" in response to these comments:
2.4.3 [[When aggregating the results of comparisons of normal value and export price to determine any margin of dumping, whether in an investigation pursuant to paragraph 4.2 or for any other purpose (including determinations pursuant to Articles 9 or 11), authorities are not required to offset the results of any comparison in which the export price is greater than the normal value against the results of any comparison in which the normal value is greater than the export price.]]
My quick read is that this new text is saying that governments are not required to use the "offset" method (i.e., the method that does not involve zeroing). In other words, they are not required to "not zero." That is to say, they may engage in zeroing. However, the use of so many negatives combined with the anti-dumping jargon is making this a bit fuzzy for me, so let me know if somebody reads this differently than I have.
UPDATE: In the comments, anon99 says the following:
"To avoid any confusion, the "Consolidated Proposals" are NOT the Chair's own proposals. That is, the Chair is NOT proposing this new text that would appear to allow zeroing.
The layout of the document is as follows. The middle column contains the Chairman's text from last year (the first box you have above). The left column - i.e. the "Consolidated Proposals" column - sets forth/consolidates proposals from Members made in response to the Chair's text (the third box you have above). Finally, the right column - i.e. the "Comments" column - is the Chair's summary of the delegation's comments."
Thanks to anon99 for the clarification.
UPDATE 2: more from anon99:
Corr.1 Please note that left column - i.e. the "Consolidated Proposals" column - sets forth/consolidates proposals from Members made prior to the Chair's text, and not, as I mistakenly wrote above, "in response to the Chair's text".