US steel industry criticises WTO ruling favouring India

Washington - The American steel industry today criticised a WTO ruling against the US imposing high duty on imports of certain Indian steel products, an order India hailed as a "significant victory" that will help its domestic manufacturers and exporters.

"The WTO decision today significantly weakens the effectiveness of US trade laws," said Thomas J Gibson, CEO and president of American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

AISI said the WTO Appellate Body ruled against the US government appeal of a challenge by India earlier this year regarding the International Trade Commission (ITC)'s practice of "cross-cumulating."

Under this process, as mandated by US statute, the impact of dumped and subsidised imports are both taken into consideration when assessing injury in ITC determinations, it said.

"US law expressly requires the ITC to cumulate dumped and subsidised imports when they are under simultaneous investigations," Gibson said.

"The WTO Appellate Body has once again created an obligation not agreed to by our trade negotiators, and this ruling will make it very difficult for domestic industries to obtain an effective remedy when facing both dumped and subsidised imports at the same time," he said.

Noting that steel imports captured 30 per cent of the market share last month, Gibson said the ruling "is very detrimental to steel businesses and workers who continue to battle a flood of dumped and subsidised imports coming into this country unfairly and at record levels."

AISI said the WTO panel's ruling focused on specific countervailing duty measures imposed on imports of certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India, saying they were inconsistent with the WTO Subsidies and Countervailing Measures agreement.

However, the decision will likely have consequences for a number of other trade cases as well.

The Appellate Body decision also made a number of other rulings affecting Commerce Department practice, and AISI is currently evaluating the significance of those rulings, it said. (PTI)