India takes US to WTO for failure to lift steel import duties

10 Jun 2017


India has filed a non-compliance complaint against the United States with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the latter's failure to drop anti-subsidy duties on certain Indian steel products as per an earlier ruling, the WTO said on Friday.

India said the United States had failed to meet an April 2016 deadline to comply with a WTO ruling against countervailing duties imposed on hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India.

India has now sought consultations with the US under the aegis of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after the last date for Washington to comply with the WTO dispute settlement body's ruling passes last year.

''India considers that the measures taken by the US to comply with the recommendations and rulings adopted by the DSB (Dispute Settlement Body) in US – Carbon Steel (India) are not consistent with such adopted recommendations and the covered agreements, and therefore, requests that the US enter into consultations,'' New Delhi stated in its representation to the WTO.

India first moved the WTO in April 2012, after the US Commerce Department slapped 286 per cent countervailing duty on imports of circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe from India, following a petition from Allied Tube and Conduit, JMC Steel Group, Wheatland Tube and United States Steel Corp.

The Commerce Department argued that the iron ore used to make steel pipes by Indian companies came from a state-run mining firm, NMDC, effectively subsidising Indian exporters and that the countervailing duty was meant to protect US industry from dumping.

India argued that the price of the steel pipe was set by the market and there is no subsidy involved in sale to local firms.

On 19 December 2014, the DSB had found that the US impost of countervailing duties on hot-rolled carbon steel flat product imports from India breached obligations of the US under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement) and recommended removal of import duties to conform to US obligations under the SCM Agreement.

On 24 March 2015, US and India informed the DSB that they had agreed that the reasonable period of time for the US to implement the DSB recommendations and rulings, would expire on 18 April 2016.

However, the US has failed to implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings and hence the Indian complaint.

The non-compliance complaint, effectively a new trade dispute, could lead to India seeking imposition of trade sanctions if the United States still fails to comply.

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