Trade Cases

India Appeals Section 232 Tariffs to WTO

Written by Sandy Williams

India is disputing the legality of Section 232 tariffs and quota arrangements by the United States, claiming violations of the GATT and Safeguards Agreement.

India filed an official request with the World Trade Organization for dispute settlement consultations with the United States. India joins several other nations which dismiss the claim that imports of aluminum and steel are threatening U.S. national security. India, China, Russia, Japan, Turkey and the EU have labeled the tariffs safeguard measures under WTO rules, entitling them to a combined $3.5 billion in annual compensation. The nations have informed the WTO they may increase duties on U.S. goods in retaliation under WTO safeguard rules to balance the effects of the U.S tariffs.

India asserts that quota deals arranged by the U.S with Argentina, Brazil, South Korea and Australia are voluntary export restraints prohibited by WTO rules.

Article 11.1(b) of the Agreement on Safeguards and Article XI:1 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade states that “a Member shall not seek, take, or maintain any voluntary export restraints, orderly marketing arrangements or any other similar measures on the export or the import side.” GATT Article XI:1 states that WTO members may not maintain trade restrictions other than duties, taxes or other charges.

India also asserts that the U.S. is not applying tariffs and quotas uniformly to nations that export steel and aluminum to the U.S., thereby discriminating against products originating from India.

The WTO must respond to India’s May 18 consultation request within 10 days,  and enter into consultations within 30 days. If after 60 days the U.S. and India have not resolved the issues, India can request the establishment of a dispute settlement panel.

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