India moves WTO against U.S. import tariffs on steel, aluminium

COMMENTApril 19 2018 12:01am The TimesEU short of bargaining chips in negotiations with US on tariffs Simon Nixon

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump slapped tariffs of 25 per cent on steel imports and 10 per cent on imported aluminum, but granted the European Union a temporary exemption until May 1.

It is unclear what Moscow's demand means in practice because it did not challenge the tariffs through a WTO appeals mechanism through which the organization's 164 members can negotiate solutions to trade disputes.

European Union (EU)'s trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters here Wednesday that US tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum are distorting global trade and may undermine global economic growth.

"The move would help create a pressure on the U.S. as other member countries may join India in this".

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China requested the discussions about USA tariffs on steel and aluminium imports that the administration has defended on national security grounds, and the possibility of US tariffs on 1,300 Chinese goods. "If the higher duties on the two items are not rolled back, India has to be compensated as per WTO rules", the official said.

"As an affected member with a significant export interest to the United States for the products at issue, India requests consultations with the USA", it added.

The Agreement on Safeguards entitles a member to seek an extension of a safeguard measure or seek a substantially equivalent level of concessions and other obligations, including trade compensation, with a right of retaliation if no compensation can be agreed upon. He also temporarily exempted big steel producers Canada and Mexico - provided they agree to renegotiate a North American trade deal to his satisfaction.

China, which too featured in the list of countries penalised with higher duties on import of steel and aluminium on 23 March, announced higher tariffs on a number of items imported from the U.S. in retaliation.

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