November 15, 2019 / 3:50 PM / 21 days ago

WTO rejects most Indian claims against U.S. steel duties

GENEVA (Reuters) - World Trade Organization adjudicators on Friday rejected most of India’s claims that the United States was not respecting an earlier WTO ruling related to anti-subsidy duties on Indian steel.

India had complained that the United States failed to meet an April 2016 deadline to comply with a WTO decision that faulted it over its imposition of “countervailing” duties on hot-rolled carbon steel products from India.

Despite U.S. duties still applying, the WTO panel rejected many of the Indian complaints, although it did say that the United States needed to bring a legislative provision into line with WTO rules.

India brought its original complaint to the WTO in April 2012, after the U.S. Commerce Department set an import duty of nearly 286 percent on a circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe product from India to offset government subsidies.

The Commerce Department acted after receiving a petition from Allied Tube and Conduit, JMC Steel Group, Wheatland Tube and United States Steel Corp.

In 2014, the WTO found that for a variety of reasons the U.S. measures breached global trade rules. The two parties agreed that the United States would comply with that ruling by 2016, but then disagreed over whether it had done so.

Either side could appeal against the panel’s latest findings. If a country does not comply with a WTO ruling, the other party can ask to impose sanctions.

In the extremely complex case, India argued that the price of the steel pipe was set by the market, but the United States said the iron ore used to make it came from a state-run mining firm, NMDC, effectively subsidizing Indian exporters.

India’s complaint alleging U.S. non-compliance listed 14 areas where it said the United States was in breach of the international trade rules.

Writing by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Hugh Lawson

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