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WTO upholds Japan's complaint over India's safeguard on steel imports

Reuters  |  TOKYO/GENEVA 

By and Tom Miles

TOKYO/GENEVA (Reuters) - (WTO) dispute panel largely upheld Japan's complaint against a safeguard duty imposed by on imports for two-and-a-half years, a ruling published on Tuesday showed.

The ruling, which can be appealed by either side, said had broken the WTO rules and urged to take corrective action, even though the disputed duties ended in March this year. The corrective action is for potential duties retroactively to be put on imported

went to the WTO in 2016 to complain about the safeguard - an emergency tariff that WTO members can use to shield their industries against the threat of a sudden and damaging surge in imports. India set the duty at 20 percent in the first year, tapering to 10 percent in the final six months.

"The panel's ruling underlines that safeguard duties should not be easily imposed unless they are consistent with the WTO rules," Keiji Hattori, at Japan's Ministry of Economy, said.

"This case will be a precedent for other similar cases," he said.

A for India's ministry was not immediately reachable for comment.

Use of safeguards are subject to strict criteria, and the panel said India's reasons did not reach the required standard, or show a rise in based on objective data.

However, India appeared to have opened itself up to a WTO challenge, since it could have simply raised its regular tariff on the iron and and stayed within the rules.

The annual value of Japan's export of hot-rolled coils, used in automobiles, construction and industrial machinery, to India came to 56.84 billion yen ($502 million) in 2014. But the figure plunged after India imposed the duties on some in September 2015.

The WTO panel's ruling should be adopted within 60 days, unless either of the parties appeals.

Japan, the world's second-biggest steel producer, usually tries to deal with trade disputes through bilateral talks, but with global trade friction increasing, Japan's defence of an industry that sells nearly half of its products overseas has become more vigorous.

(Reporting by and Tom Miles, additional reporting by Alasdair Pal; editing by and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 23:33 IST