WTO: US Broke Rules By Imposing Steel, Silicon, Other Import Duties on China And India

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World Trade Organization judges said on Monday the US broke its own rules in imposing hefty duties on Chinese steel products, solar panels and a range of other goods that Washington argues enjoyed government subsidies, Reuters reported.

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In the $7.2 billion Chinese case, the panel found that Washington had overstepped the mark in justifying the so-called countervailing duties it imposed as a response to alleged subsidies to exporting firms by China’s government.

In a similar case involving US methods in deciding when foreign imports are unfairly priced, another WTO panel ruled in support of some claims by India against tariffs on steel exports from three of its major firms.

Trade diplomats said the two cases, both under scrutiny for nearly two years by the separate panels, reflected a widespread concern in the 160-member WTO over what many see as illegal US protection of its own producers.

Under the 1964 Marrakesh accords, which also set up the WTO, these duties can only be levied when there is clear evidence that state-owned or partially state-owned enterprises passing on the subsidies are “public bodies.”

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Chinese steel prices were flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($135.38) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($133.77) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC held steady at CNY 3,380 ($544.76) per metric ton. The price of Chinese coking coal continues hovering around CNY 1,390 ($224.03) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.

For the fifth day in a row, the steel billet cash price remained essentially flat on the LME at $395.00 per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the 3-month price of steel billet held flat on the LME at $400.00 per metric ton.

The US HRC futures contract 3-month price held steady on Monday, remaining around $639.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract spot price saw little price change on Monday at $670.00 per short ton.

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