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India Takes US to WTO's Safeguard Committee for Hiking Duties on Steel, Aluminium Derivatives

The headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.  (Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)

The headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva. (Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse/File Photo)

In April 2018, India had requested consultations with the US with respect to tariff increase on aluminum and steel imports imposed by the US through a presidential proclamation issued on 8 March 2018.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: April 7, 2020, 10:49 PM IST
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India has sought consultations with the US, under the WTO's safeguard agreement, against American authorities' decision to increase import duties on derivatives of steel and aluminium products.

In January this year, the US issued a presidential proclamation stating that steel and aluminium derivatives would be subject to tariff increase.

According to a communication of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), India considers this measure of the US to be a safeguard measure within a provision of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, and the Agreement on Safeguards.

"India considers tariff increase through Presidential Proclamation on 24 January 2020 as an extension of earlier safeguard measures (announced in March 2018).

"Accordingly, as an affected Member with significant export interest to the US for the products at issue, India requests consultations with the US... In accordance with ...the Agreement on Safeguards, India seeks to exercise its right to consult on the specifics of the measures and its right to determine appropriate trade compensation with the US," it said on Tuesday.

The WTO said that India reserves the right to raise additional issues and make further factual and legal arguments, without prejudice to any other remedies provided for under the understanding on rules and procedures governing the settlement of disputes and the covered agreements during the course of consultations.

"India looks forward to receiving a prompt reply to this request from the US for a mutually convenient date and venue for the consultations," it added.

Further, it said that as per a provision of the Agreement on Safeguards, a WTO member country proposing to apply a safeguard measures shall provide adequate opportunity for prior consultations with those members having a substantial interest as exporters of the product concerned, with a view to review the information provided, exchanging views on the measure, and reaching an understanding on ways to achieve the objective set out in the agreement.

Earlier in March 2018, when the US levied a 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium. After this move also, India drags the US to WTO's safeguard committee and had sought consultation. On that request, the US had stated that the taxes imposed are not safeguard duties.

In April 2018, India had requested consultations with the US with respect to tariff increase on aluminum and steel imports imposed by the US through a presidential proclamation issued on 8 March 2018.

The consultations, however, do not fall under the World Trade Organisation's (WTO's) dispute settlement system.


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