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Joint Press Release with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs A Panel was Established under the WTO Agreement Regarding India's Safeguard Measures on Steel Products

On April 3, 2017, following a request made by the Government of Japan to the World Trade Organization (WTO), a panel was established at a special meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) regarding the safeguard measures by the Government of India which has imposed duties on steel products since 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 decided 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 and the investigative procedures in India's investigation include flaws, and that 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 that India hold bilateral consultations under the WTO Agreements. The consultations were held on February 6 and 7, 2017.

Following the consultations, on March 9, 2017, Japan requested that the WTO establish a panel regarding the safeguard measures imposed by India. On April 3, 2017, the panel was established during a special meeting of the DSB.

2. Future schedule

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

(Reference 1) Safeguard Measures
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 target imported products in order to prevent serious injury to the domestic industry which arises 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 every six months thereafter to 18%, 15%, and 10%.
(Reference 3) Minimum Import Price System
Japan also requested consultations under the WTO Agreements on December 20, 2016, 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 makes rulings regarding its consistency with the WTO Agreement. If a party is not satisfied with the panel rulings, it may appeal to the WTO Appellate Body.
(Reference 5) special meeting of DSB
When a panel is not established at the DSB meeting at which the request first appears as an item on the agenda, pursuant to Article 6.1 and footnote 5 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU), when the complaining party so request, a special meeting of DSB shall be convened for this purpose within 15 days of the requests, provided that at least 10 days’ advance notice of the meeting is given.

Release date

April 4, 2017

Divisions 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 website

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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