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India gets WTO green signal to set up dispute panel

Dec '18
India gets WTO green signal to set up dispute panel
India recently received go-ahead from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to form a dispute settlement panel to rule on controversial unilateral US duties on the import of steel and aluminium under the Section 232 security provisions. India and Switzerland join China, the European Union (EU), Canada, Mexico, Norway, Turkey and Russia, who have already secured such a nod.

India forwarded its second request for establishing the panel at a dispute settlement body meeting on December 4 arguing that the additional duties of 25 per cent on steel products and 10 per cent on aluminium imposed are “inconsistent with the US’ WTO obligations under the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards”, according to Indian media reports.

The US blocked India’s first request on 21 November but, under WTO rules, when a complainant makes a second request, the panel is automatically established.

“This collective resort to dispute settlement reflects the serious concern of the WTO Membership over the United States’ actions,” India said, calling for a ‘single panel’ to rule on the US tariffs, as all the complaints are related to the same matter.

India said a single panel will be able to examine these disputes, “particularly given the complainants’ willingness to coordinate and proceed in this matter”.

There are nine established panels now and it is yet to be decided whether a single panel will be formed.

The US has warned that the legitimacy of the dispute settlement system and the viability of the trade body would be undermined if the WTO were to initiate panel proceedings against the additional duties.

The United States maintains that the duties imposed on steel and aluminium are “issues of national security and political matters not susceptible to review or capable of resolution by WTO dispute settlement.” (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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December 2019

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