Japan for WTO panel to resolve steel duty dispute with India

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New Delhi | Published: March 27, 2017 3:43:24 PM

Japan has asked WTO to set up a panel to help resolve dispute with India over the safeguard measures it has imposed on steel imports, Parliament was informed today.

Both the sides have failed to resolve the issue in the bilateral consultation process. Due to this, Japan has sought formation of dispute resolution panel. (Reuters)

Japan has asked WTO to set up a panel to help resolve dispute with India over the safeguard measures it has imposed on steel imports, Parliament was informed today. “Japan has requested the WTO Dispute Settlement Body for establishment of the panel in the WTO dispute…alleging that India’s safeguard measures on certain iron and steel products are inconsistent with the WTO obligations,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

She said when the matter was raised by certain members at a World Trade Organization (WTO) council, India conveyed that the measures including minimum import price were taken to address concerns of the domestic industry on unprecedented surge in imports of steel products due to unfair international business practices such as predatory pricing in the sector.

Both the sides have failed to resolve the issue in the bilateral consultation process. Due to this, Japan has sought formation of dispute resolution panel.

Japan in December dragged India to WTO against certain measures taken by New Delhi on imports of iron and steel products. Japan, which is the second largest steel producer in the world, had alleged that duties imposed on steel imports by India violates WTO trade norms.

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In September 2015, India imposed provisional safeguard duty of 20 per cent on import of certain categories of steel with a view to protect domestic producers. Later in November last year, the government slapped the final duty. As per the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism, the request for consultations is the first step in a dispute.

After 60 days, if consultations fail to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel. Bilateral trade between the two countries was $14.51 billion in 2015-16. Trade is highly in favour of Japan.

In a separate reply, Sitharaman said that India is poised to push many topics in the WTO ministerial conference at Argentina in December including a permanent solution to the issue of public stock-holding of foodgrains and discussions on trade facilitation agreement in services. The agreement is aimed to ease movement of skilled professionals across the borders.

“The objective of the initiative proposed by India is to initiate discussion in the WTO on how to comprehensively address the numerous barriers that impede the realisation of the full potential of trade in services,” she said.

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