India takes US to WTO‘s safeguard committee on metal, aluminium duties

NEW DELHI: India has sought consultations with the US under the ‘s safeguard agreement against American authorities‘ decision to impose import duties on certain steel and aluminium products.

The consultations, however, don‘t fall under the World Trade Organisation‘s (WTO‘s) dispute settlement system.

The US had last month imposed high import duties on certain steel and aluminium products.

India considers this move “to be an emergency action/safeguard measures” under a provision of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Agreement on Safeguards, the WTO has said.

“As an affected member with a significant export interest to the US for the products at issue, India requests consultations with the US,” it added.

On this request, according to a government official, the US has stated that the taxes imposed are not safeguard duties.

According to an expert, seeking consultations to the safeguard committee is a way to inform the other country that they are not fulfilling their commitments under the WTO rules.

“The move would help create a pressure on the US as other member countries may join India in this. May be after this, India can think of dragging the US in the WTO‘s dispute settlement mechanism on the issue,” said Biswajit Dhar, professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

India‘s move assumes significance as the country has urged the US to give exemption from the tariff hikes.

As per estimates, India exports steel and aluminium goods worth about $1.6 billion a year to America.

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