India, US agree to resolve dispute
India and the US have agreed to resolve amicably a dispute over American import duties on certain Indian steel products, wherein Washington is yet to fully comply with the WTO ruling. The WTO dispute resolution body has ruled against the US in this case stating that the high duty imposed by America on certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India was inconsistent with various provisions of the WTO's Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. The US agreed to resolve the matter amicably as the appellate body of the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism has become dysfunctional since last month.
- America has failed to fully comply with a six-year-old ruling of the WTO's dispute panel over import duties on certain Indian steel products which has endorsed India's belief that not only the practices followed by the US, the law itself violates WTO agreements.
- The compliance panel has found that the US has not complied with the rulings and recommendations of the dispute panel.
- India has dragged the US in WTO in 2012, alleging that Washington's move to impose high duties on imports of certain Indian steel products are global trade rules.
- In December 2014, the WTO dispute panel had ruled against the US imposing high countervailing duties on imports of certain Indian steel products.
- Later the WTO's appellate body too ruled that the high duties imposed by the US were inconsistent with various provisions of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.
- Then in June 2017, India again moved the WTO alleging that America has not fully complied with those rulings.
- India had stated that a reasonable period of time for the US to comply with the WTO's ruling had expired on April 18, 2016.
- According to a communication of the WTO, both the countries "continue to engage in good faith discussions to seek a positive solution to this dispute".
- It said that on December 18, 2019, the US notified the Dispute Settlement Body of its decision to appeal the report by the compliance panel.
- The US did not file a notice of appeal or an appellant submission because at this time no division of the appellate body can be established to hear this appeal.
- It may be noted that it is the US which has not been agreeing to the appointment of WTO's appellate body members.
- At present, only one member is there in the body whereas there should be seven and the quorum required is at least three to hear appeals.