US adds India along with China, EU to steel tariff dispute at WTO

The United States has complained at the World Trade Organization about Indian tariffs imposed in response to US steel and aluminium tariffs last year. The dispute follows similar complaints against China, the European Union and others who retaliated in the same way, saying the US tariffs were essentially “safeguard” measures that should be accompanied with a balancing cut in trade barriers on other goods. The United States says they are not safeguards.

The U.S. has moved to impose additional duties on steel coming from Asia, expanding a crackdown on what the Trump administration views as unfair trading practices by other countries.

The US Commerce Department said that it determined that some steel wheels from China are being sold at less than fair value in the U.S. and are being unfairly subsidized, and that it plans to impose duties.

The department said it would impose levies of more than 400% on steel imports from Vietnam, accusing some businesses of shipping products from the Southeast Asian nation to avoid anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties. Certain products produced in South Korea and Taiwan were being shipped to Vietnam for minor processing before being exported to U.S. as corrosion-resistant steel products and cold-rolled steel, it said.

The department’s trade enforcement actions follow the normal process by Commerce to probe anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases — a different approach than President Donald Trump’s unilateral tariffs on Chinese goods and steel imports over national security concerns. Even so, the moves are likely to add to simmering trade tensions.

A truce agreed by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping last week has paved the way for a resumption of talks to reach a trade deal even as key differences remain unresolved. The U.S. is still seeking major concessions such as the demand that Beijing change its economic model and level the playing field so American companies can compete more fairly in China. The U.S. has also been hardening its rhetoric against Vietnam, one of its major trading partners and an economy that’s benefiting from Trump’s trade war with China. Trump described Vietnam last week as “almost the single-worst abuser of everybody” when asked if he wanted to impose tariffs on the nation.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *