0501 GMT July 18, 2019
Indian officials told Reuters last month that India would open a WTO dispute if Indian firms were not exempted from the tariffs.
India had earlier informed the WTO’s Council for Trade in Goods that it may increase the import duties on select items including high power motorcycles, chickpeas, walnuts and apples if the United States goes ahead with its plan to impose duties on certain steel and aluminum products originating from India, businesstoday.in reported.
The retaliatory measure – suspension of duty concessions – shall be equivalent to the amount of trade affected by the United States’ measures, India informed the council.
Countries warn of retaliation
Japan, Russia and Turkey have warned the United States about potential retaliation for its tariffs on steel and aluminum, the WTO said on Tuesday, bringing the total US tariff bill to around $3.5 billion annually.
The three countries detailed their compensation claims in notifications to the world trade body, following similar moves by the European Union, India and China. Each showed how much the disputed US tariffs would add to the cost of steel and aluminum exports to the United States, based on 2017 trade.
Russia said the US tariffs, which Trump imposed in March, would add duties of $538 million to its annual steel and aluminum exports. Japan put the sum at $440 million. Turkey added a further $267 million.
China, the 28-nation EU and India have put their claims at $612 million, $1.6 billion and $165 million, respectively.
They all reject the US view that the import tariffs – 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum – are justified by US national security concerns and are therefore exempt from WTO rules.
They say the US tariffs have all the hallmarks of “safeguards,” a trade restriction that can be legitimately used to protect a struggling industry from an unforeseen surge in imports.
A country using safeguards must compensate other WTO members who stand to lose out from the restriction on their trade, normally by rebalancing their trading relationship with a net increase in imports of other goods.
But the United States denies its tariffs are safeguards and has offered no compensation, prompting the retaliatory action.
The compensation would normally take years, but because the US steel and aluminum sectors were not facing an absolute increase in imports, the WTO rules permitted retaliation in just 30 days’ time, they said.