WTO rules against US on steel dispute; India says major victory

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Geneva/New Delhi: The WTO has ruled against the US imposing high duty on imports of certain Indian steel products, an order hailed by India as a “significant victory” that will help domestic manufacturers and exporters.

The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that the high duty imposed by the US on the certain Indian steel imports was “inconsistent” with various provisions of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM).

“India has achieved a significant victory at the WTO, as the Appellate Body held that the Countervailing Duty (CVD) measures imposed by the US against certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products are inconsistent with various provisions of the ASCM,” an official statement said.

The move will definitely help domestic manufacturers which had been suffering due to inconsistent practices by the US Department of Commerce, it added.

The implication of this ruling is that the US has to amend its domestic law to be WTO compliant.

“It has significant trade impact for India as out of the current 10 products on which US has imposed CVD, about 7 products suffer from the same inconsistency,” it said.

The Commerce and Industry Ministry said the Appellate Body has “emphatically” endorsed India`s position that a public sector undertaking shall be treated as a ‘public body’ only when they possess governmental authority and discharge governmental functions.

“This ruling would provide significant relief to exporters who buy raw materials from PSUs such as SAIL or NMDC. The ruling also has world-wide implications on how the WTO disciplines on subsidies can be applied against alleged financial contributions from State-owned enterprises,” it added.

The statement said that India will actively monitor the implementation of this ruling by the US in order to ensure that interests of Indian exporters are fully protected.

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