India and some other nations, including Switzerland, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea and Russia, have criticised the EU for deciding against terminating its safeguard measure on imports of certain steel products after carrying out a review.

Most argued the EU’s safeguard duty, imposed after the Trump administration in the US slapped additional duties on certain categories of steel imports from the bloc, in 2018, was inconsistent with WTO rules, a Geneva-based trade official told BusinessLine. “Most of the members that criticised the EU said the bloc’s safeguard measures was not in response to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ and should have been terminated after the review,” the official said.

UK flayed

Members also criticised the United Kingdom for maintaining its safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products. They noted the UK was currently conducting a review of the safeguard and argued that it should be revoked as it was not in compliance with WTO rules from the outset.

Countering criticism, the EU pointed out that its recent review was not an extension of the safeguard, as some complainants charged. As the safeguard will expire at the end of June 2024, it was a determination whether to end the measure early, it said.

The EU added that it had implemented the dispute ruling regarding the safeguard measure which resulted in the safeguard being brought into full compliance with WTO rules.

The UK said that, as its review of the safeguard was ongoing, it would not comment further on the matter at this stage.

In 2021, India had proposed to impose additional import duties worth €292 million on select products from the European Union as a retaliation against the safeguard measures.

The following year, it proposed additional customs duties of 15 per cent on the import of 22 products, including whisky, cheese and diesel engine parts, from the UK in retaliation to Britain’s decision to impose restrictions on steel products after it exited from the EU.