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India to face dispute settlement panel at WTO

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-04-2017 D. Ravi Kanth

Geneva: India will face a dispute settlement panel at the World Trade Organization (WTO) after Japan made a second request on Monday for adjudicating over safeguard duties imposed by India on iron and steel products from Japan that Tokyo claim are inconsistent with global trade rules.

At a dispute settlement body meeting, Japan pressed ahead with its second request for establishing the panel against the duties imposed by India on hot-rolled flat products since September 2015. India was unable to prevent the panel’s establishment as WTO rules do not permit a country to block a second request.

India, however, expressed disappointment at Japan’s second request, suggesting it had made several efforts to resolve the concerns raised by Japan. India had said the duration of its safeguard measures are for a shorter period than that provided under the WTO safeguards agreement.

But, according to Japan, India failed to follow the provisions set out in the safeguards agreement before imposing definitive duties. “India failed to make reasoned and adequate findings and conclusions in its determination with respect to the alleged unforeseen developments, and how those alleged unforeseen developments resulted in increased imports of products concerned causing or threatening serious injury to domestic producers,” Japan said in its complaint.

Japan alleged that India violated several major provisions of the WTO agreement on safeguards by failing to adhere to the procedures and provisions in determining the “causal link between the alleged increase in imports and the alleged serious injury and/or threat of serious injury to the domestic industry”.

Further, the safeguard measures were “beyond the extent necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury”, and India failed to consult with interested parties, it added.

Japan challenged India’s imposition of safeguard duties to the tune of 20% ad valorem (according to the value) minus anti-dumping duty on imports of hot-rolled flat products between 14 September 2015 and 13 September 2016; 18% between 14 September 2016 and 13 March 2017; 15% between 14 March 2017 and 13 September 2017; and 10% between 14 September 2017 and 13 March 2018.

Meanwhile, in another major trade dispute that will determine whether China will be treated as a market economy in anti-dumping trade disputes, the WTO has agreed to a second request from China to set up a panel for adjudicating over the European Union’s controversial price comparison methodologies adopted in anti-dumping investigations against the Chinese products.

China said it had agreed in its accession protocol to allow the determination of certain elements of “price comparability” in anti-dumping investigations of Chinese imports for a period of 15 years.

Despite those measures having expired on 11 December 2016 as per the accession protocol, the EU introduced special provisions to continue with these price comparison methodologies and deny China the same treatment that it accords to other members, China maintained.

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