India Appeals WTO US Anti-Dumping Duties Case… Despite (Mostly) Winning It

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Dumping of low-priced products and the imposition of an anti-dumping duty is always a contentious international issue.

Recently, despite getting a favorable ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO) in a case related to the imposition of duties by the United States on the export of steel by Indian companies, India filed an appeal against certain portions of the ruling.

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While the WTO had concurred with India’s contention that the US’s move of levying countervailing duties (CVD) on Indian high-grade iron ore had contravened WTO rules, it rejected other objections raised by India on other technical issues such as how penalty duties were to be calculated.

According to a report in The Hindu Businessline, India has asked for reconsideration of the panel’s decision, rejecting the challenges it had posed to the US method of calculating CVD.

In an unrelated development, though connected to anti-dumping itself, an independent US quasi-judicial federal agency recently ruled against the imposition of any anti-dumping duty on certain categories of steel threaded rods from India. About a month ago, the US Department of Commerce said that Indian steel threaded rod was being dumped in the country and had asked that an anti-dumping duty be imposed against it.

But the US International Trade Commission (USITC) ruled a month later that there was no merit in the commerce department’s opinion. In its media statement it said the US steel industry was not threatened with material injury by reason of imports of certain steel threaded rod from India that the US Department of Commerce had determined are subsidized and sold in the US at less than fair value.

In 2013, Indian imports of steel threaded rod were valued at an estimated $19 million.

For years now, American steel producers have been accusing Indian, Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese steelmakers of flooding the market with imported steel, priced cheaper than domestic steel. American steel producers were selling less steel, leading to the imposition of anti-dumping duties.

Indian steel exports to the US, thus, have been hit. Indian carbon steel, for example, attracted CVD between 18 to as much as 500 percent for over a decade, affecting the bottom line of many companies such as Tata Steel.

In the first instance of import of high-grade ore, the reason the US had sought to apply CVD was that, in its opinion, the ore was sourced by Indian steelmakers from the public sector National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) at a subsidized rate because it was government-owned. India though, in an earlier case before the WTO, had argued that NMDC always sold at prevailing market prices determined by their exports to Japan and South Korea.

The WTO rejected a number of arguments put up by India which included challenges to over 300 instances of the use of ‘facts available’ and challenges to the US’ benchmark calculations, and inclusion of new subsidy programs.

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