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Joint Press Release with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan Requested Establishment of a Panel under the WTO Agreement Regarding India's Safeguard Measures on Steel Products

On March 9, 2017, the Government of Japan requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a panel regarding the safeguard measures on steel products under which the Government of India commenced the imposition of duties on September 14, 2015.

1. Background

The Government of India (“India”) initiated a safeguard investigation against imports of steel products on September 7, 2015. On March 29, 2016, based on its final determination that the increase in imports of steel products had caused serious injury and the thereat thereof to the domestic industry, India began to impose definitive safeguard measures as continuous measures of provisional safeguard measures being imposed since September 14, 2015.

The Government of Japan ("Japan") considers that the findings made and the investigation procedure taken by India's investigation authorities include flaws, and the safeguard measures are inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1994) and the WTO Agreement on Safeguards.

Accordingly, on December 20, 2016, Japan requested India to hold a bilateral consultations under the WTO Agreement and consultations were held on February 6 and 7, 2017.

Based on the results of the consultations, on March 9, 2017, Japan requested the WTO to establish a panel regarding the aforementioned safeguard measures imposed by India.

2. Future schedule

Japan will seek an appropriate solution on this issue in accordance with WTO Agreements.

(Reference 1) Safeguard Duty

A safeguard measure is an emergency measure stipulated in the WTO Agreement, under which the importing country’s government is able to impose additional duties or quantitative restrictions against the imported products at issue in order to prevent serious injury to the domestic industry from surging imports of such products.

(Reference 2) Brief Summary of the Safeguard Measures Imposed by India

India decided to impose safeguard duties for 2 years and 6 months, starting from September 14, 2015. The rate of duties imposed is 20% for the initial year, reduced to 18%, 15%, and 10% every six months thereafter.

(Reference 3) Minimum Import Price System

Japan requested consultations under the WTO Agreement on December 20, 2016, also with regard to India's minimum import price system for iron and steel products, but this system expired on February 4, 2017.

(Reference 4) Panels under the WTO Agreement

If consultations fail to settle a dispute, based on the request from the complaining party, the WTO panel, a quasi-judicial third party, examines the matter and gives rulings regarding the consistency with the WTO Agreement. When a party is not satisfied with the panel rulings, it may appeal to the WTO Appellate Body.

Release date

March 9, 2017

Division in Charge

For WTO dispute settlement in general
Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau
For the iron and steel industry
Metal Industries Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau
For the economic relationship between Japan and India
Southwest Asia Office, Trade Policy Bureau

Related Information

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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