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TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (May18/18)
30 May 2018
Third World Network

   
India initiates dispute at WTO over US tariffs on steel, aluminium
Published in SUNS #8687 dated 25 May 2018


Geneva, 24 May (Kanaga Raja) - India has initiated a dispute at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the additional duties imposed by the United States on imports of steel and aluminium products.

In initiating the dispute, India has sought consultations with the United States, in a communication circulated to WTO members on 23 May.

Separately, on 18 May, India notified the Council for Trade in Goods, under Article 12.5 of the Agreement on Safeguards, of its proposed imposition of additional duties on some 20 tariff lines totalling US$165.56 million in response to the US measures (see separate story).

The request for consultations by India is the first step in the dispute settlement process at the WTO.

If the consultations fail to settle a dispute within 60 days after the date of receipt of the request for consultations, the complaining party may request the establishment of a panel.

The establishment of a panel may also be requested by a complaining party during the 60-day period if the consulting parties jointly consider that the consultations have failed to settle the dispute.

In its communication to the DSB (WT/DS547/1), India said its request for consultations is with respect to certain measures by the United States to adjust imports of steel and aluminum into the United States, including but not limited to, imposing additional ad valorem rate of duty on imports of certain steel and aluminum products and exempting certain selected WTO Members from the measures.

The United States imposed 25 percent and 10 percent of additional import duty on certain steel products and aluminum products respectively from all countries except Canada, Mexico, Australia, Argentina, South Korea, Brazil and the European Union, which took effect from 23 March 2018.

According to the Indian communication, the measures at issue in its request include, but are not limited to:

* Adjusting Imports of Steel into the United States, including the Annex, To Modify Chapter 99 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (Presidential Proclamation 9705, issued on 8 March 2018).

* Adjusting Imports of Aluminium into the United States, including the Anne x, To Modify Chapter 99 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (Presidential Proclamation 9704, issued on 8 March 2018).

* Adjusting Imports of Steel into the United States (Presidential Proclamation 9711, issued on 22 March 2018).

* Adjusting Imports of Steel into the United States (Presidential Proclamation 9740, issued on 30 April 2018).

* Adjusting Imports of Aluminium into the United States (Presidential Proclamation 9710, issued on 22 March 2018).

* Adjusting Imports of Aluminium into the United States (Presidential Proclamation 9739, issued on 30 April 2018).

* Requirements for Submissions Requesting Exclusions from the Remedies Instituted in Presidential Proclamations Adjusting Imports of Steel into the United States and Adjusting Imports of Aluminium into the United States; and the Filing of Objections to Submitted Exclusion Requests for Steel and Aluminium (US Department of Commerce).

* Section 232 Tariffs on Aluminium and Steel, Additional Duty on Imports of Steel and Aluminium Articles under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (US Customs and Border Protection).

* Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (19 U.S.C. =A71862), cited in the Presidential Proclamations above for vesting authorities in the President of the United States to take the actions therein.

* The Effect of Imports of Steel on the National Security, An Investigation Conducted Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, As Amended (US Department of Commerce, 11 January 2018).

* The Effect of Imports of Aluminium on the National Security, An Investigation Conducted Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, As Amended (US Department of Commerce, 17 January 2018).

It also includes any amendments, or successor, replacement, or implementing measures.

According to the Indian communication, the measures at issue, operating independently and/or together, appear to be inconsistent with the United States' obligations under:

* Articles XIX:1(a), XIX:2 of the GATT 1994 and Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 4.1 , 4.2, 5.1, 7, 9.1, 11.1(a), 12.1, 12.2 and 12.3 of the Agreement on Safeguards because the measures at issue are, in effect and in substance, safeguard measures and the United States has adopted and implemented the measures at issue inconsistently with its obligations, both substantive and procedural, as set out under the said provisions of the GATT 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards.

* Article 11.1(b) of the Agreement on Safeguards and Article XI:1 of the GA TT 1994 to the extent that the United States seeks, through the adoption of the measures at issue, any voluntary export restraints, orderly marketing arrangements or any other similar measures on the export or the import side.

* Article II:1(a) and (b) of the GATT 1994, because the United States has imposed import duties on certain steel and aluminium products in excess of the duties set forth and provided in Part-I of the United States' Schedule of Concessions and Commitments annexed to the GATT 1994.

* Article I:1 of the GATT 1994, because the measures at issue do not apply uniformly to all imports of certain steel and aluminium products into the United States irrespective of their origin and thereby the measures at issue discriminate against imports of the said steel and aluminium products originating from India, with respect to the advantage, favour, privilege or immunity extended by the United States to certain selected WTO Members.

* Article XI:1 of the GATT 1994, because the measures implicitly introduce restrictions in the form of quotas, as the said measures reduce the imports of steel and aluminium products from the trade levels as existed prior to these measures.

* Article X:3(a) of the GATT 1994, because the United States has failed to administer its laws, regulations, decisions and rulings in relation to the measures at issue in a uniform, impartial and reasonable manner.

According to India, these inconsistencies appear to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to India under the WTO provisions cited above.

In addition to, and independently of, the multiple violations of the WTO obligations identified above, India considers that benefits accruing to India directly and indirectly under the GATT 1994 are being nullified and impaired as a result of the application of the measures identified above within the meaning of Article XXIII:1(b) of the GATT 1994.

 


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