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  May 9th, 2016 | Written by

Problems in Steel Sector Prompting Rise in Trade Remedy Measures

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  • Overcapacity and distortions in steel trade are triggering an increase in safeguard and anti-dumping investigations.
  • 41 new antidumping investigations targeting steel imports were triggered in 2015 vs. 23 in 2013 in one WTO member.
  • WTO members cite concern with the growing number of safeguard measures targeting steel imports in recent years.

The problems in the global steel sector are prompting governments to increase their use of trade remedy measures to protect local producers, WTO members were told in a recent series of meetings.

Several members said they believed overcapacity in the steel sector and the resulting distortions in steel trade were triggering an increase in the initiation of safeguard and antidumping investigations on steel products. One member said 41 new anti-dumping investigations targeting steel imports were triggered in 2015 compared to 23 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In addition, the member cited serious concern with the growing number of safeguard measures targeting steel imports over recent years.

Concerns were also expressed about the absence of information regarding government subsidy programs in general as well as subsidy programs provided to steel producers. Many members observed that compliance with the obligation to notify specific subsidies was low and declining, and that this was a major systemic problem for the operation of the subsidies agreement.

Temporary measures shielding local producers from surging imports or unfairly-traded imports are permitted provided that they are justified by investigations showing possible harm to the producers as a direct result of the imports. The investigations must be carried out in accordance with disciplines established under the WTO’s Agreement on Safeguards, the Agreement on Anti-Dumping (ADA), and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement).

Members are obliged to notify the WTO about safeguard, anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations and measures. In addition, members must notify the WTO every second year of subsidy programs they have in place which meet the definition of a subsidy and are specific within the meaning of articles one and two of the SCM Agreement.

The comments were made at a meeting of the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards, a meeting of the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, and a meeting of the Committee on Antidumping Practices.