Policy

WTO steel row: Why the hurry, India asks Japan

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 04, 2017

The safeguard duties imposed by India to protect the domestic industry against cheap imports is being slowly tapered.   -  BL

12 other countries including US, Korea, China reserve third party rights in dispute

India has objected to Japan’s request to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to put in place early time frames for a “prompt’’ resolution of its dispute against India’s penal duties on steel imports.

New Delhi has argued that there is no rationale for treating this dispute any more urgently than other WTO disputes it was involved in and the same standard should be applied to all disputes.

“Japan may be in a hurry as the safeguard duties are to be removed next year and it wants a resolution before that. But that is not a valid reason for changing timelines,” an official told BusinessLine.

It generally takes around 18-20 months for settling a dispute at the WTO, but according to WTO rules, in cases of urgency, including those which concern perishable goods, the parties to the dispute, panels and the Appellate Body make every effort to accelerate the proceedings to the greatest extent possible.

The dispute settlement body of the WTO, on Monday, agreed to Japan’s request for setting up a dispute settlement panel to determine whether India's decision to impose a provisional and then definitive safeguard measure on imports of iron and steel products violate WTO rules.

India imposed safeguard duties-penal duties to protect vulnerable domestic industry against a surge in imports — on hot-rolled steel products in March 2016 fixed at 20 per cent which is being slowly tapered off but would be in place till March 2018.

Japan, in its request, reiterated that India’s safeguard measures in question were inconsistent with its obligations at the WTO and since the measures will expire on March 13, 2018, it hoped the new panel would observe the time frames specifically prescribed in the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Understanding for the purpose of a prompt resolution of the dispute.

India said it explained to Japan that the measures in question were wholly consistent with WTO rules and justified by special circumstances. It added that there was no justification to give special treatment to this case.

Japanese government has reportedly estimated that the tariffs could cost Japanese steel companies about $220 million through March 2018.

The safeguard duties imposed by India gave rise to complaints from several other WTO members. Interestingly as many as 12 members including the US, Australia, Canada, the European Union, Korea, Kazakhstan and Vietnam have submitted requests to have third party rights in the dispute.

Having third party rights entitles the member to have access to reports submitted by both parties in the dispute and also allows them to give comments.

Published on April 04, 2017

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.