WTO to take up India's complaint against US on steel

WTO to take up India's complaint against US on steel New Delhi: The WTO's dispute settlement body will take up on August 31 India's complaint against duties imposed by the US on imports of some Indian steel products, the multi-lateral body has said.

In April, India complained that the US had wrongly imposed countervailing duties, a kind of restrictive duty, on certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India.

"The duty imposed by the US is inconsistent with the WTO rules. The issue will now be discussed in the WTO's dispute panel," an official said.

Countries impose countervailing duties when they believe that their domestic manufacturers are suffering losses because of competition from unfairly subsidised imports.

India is contesting the US conclusion that Indian steel producers received subsidy on iron ore purchased from a state-owned company.

According to reports, in December 2001, the US has imposed the restrictive duty and further extended the duty after six years. The duty fixed was 102.7 percent.

By asking for setting up of a dispute panel, India is indicating that it has failed to resolve the issue via consultations with the US. Bilateral consultations are the first step under the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism.

In April, India had moved the WTO against the US on the issue but the matter was not resolved at the bilateral consultation stage.

India is also considering seeking consultations with the US under the aegis of World Trade Organisation (WTO) on visa fee hike for professionals, which it says discriminates against Indian software companies that send employees to America on short-term contracts.

Earlier in March, Washington had dragged New Delhi to the global trade body against India's ban on imports of certain American farm products, including poultry meat and eggs. The US had termed the ban as unjustified health-safety worries.

PTI