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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a panel that is established to examine the consistency of two Korean laws–the 1949 Liquor Tax Law and the 1982 Education Tax Law–with Article III.2 of the GATT1994. The complainants, the European Communities and the United States, complained that Korea’s tax regime was protecting Korea’s domestic production of soju–a traditional Korean spirit – at the expense of foreign alcoholic beverages, even though these beverages and soju were “like” and/or “directly competitive or substitutable”. The Panel found that it was indeed wrong of Korea to apply dissimilar taxation to products which were directly competitive or substitutable. The Panel’s reasoning and its conclusions received the unqualified approval of the Appellate Body, which seized the opportunity to consolidate its doctrine on Article III.2 of the GATT, the foundations of which had been laid in Japan–Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages, to which this Korean case bears many similarities.

Keywords: Education Tax Law; Japan; Liquor Tax Law



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