India Files Complaint with WTO Over Trump Aluminium Tariffs

The government of India has joined an ever-lengthening queue of countries taking the United States to task over the Trump administration’s imposition of aluminium tariffs earlier this year, taking the first step in the process of challenging the tariff at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

An official with India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade made the announcement to domestic media late last week.

“We have initiated action against the imposition of import duties on steel and aluminium by the US and has sought consultations with the US under the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism.”

The Indian government is basing its claim against the Trump aluminium tariffs on the damage it will do to Indian exporters of aluminium as well as the contention that such a tariff is contrary to global trade norms.

“Such unilateral measures, on the grounds of security exceptions, are an open and blatant abuse of the WTO provisions,” elaborated the Indian trade official cited above.

The next step in the process will involve consultations between representatives from both governments aimed at reconciling their respective positions. Should such talks fail to produce results, the Indian government has the option of appealing to a dispute settlement panel for review and a decision.

This move adds to a list of several disagreements between the two countries currently pending at the WTO. The United States previously filed a dispute against India challenging export incentives, arguing that such incentives distort the fair market. The U.S. also lists India as a possible currency manipulator, charging New Delhi with engaging in the practice in an effort at boosting exports.

The Trump administration instituted the blanket 10-percent tariffs on aluminium exports in early March in response to a Commerce Department investigation upon possible national security concerns regarding the importation of specialty aluminium. A handful of countries have been granted temporary reprieves, which are scheduled to lapse at the end of this month if no longer-term agreements are in place.



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