Geneva: The US has rejected a request from India to enter into what are called safeguard consultations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on additional duties imposed by US President Donald Trump on steel and aluminium imports last month.

On 8 March, the US enacted tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium against all countries, invoking national security. Several countries— China, India, the European Union (EU), Russia and Thailand among others—called upon the US to enter into safeguard consultations.

In its request on 17 April, India said it considers the US measure to “be an emergency action/safeguard measure within the meaning of Article XIX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1994, (GATT 1994) and the Agreement on Safeguards."

“As an affected member with significant export interest to the United States for the products at issue," India said it wants “consultations with the United States pursuant to Article 12.3 and Article 8.1 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Article XIX:2 of the GATT 1994."

New Delhi said it reserves the right to “consult on the specifics of the measures and its right to determine appropriate trade compensation with the United States."

The US, however, dismissed India’s request on the grounds that the additional duties are not based on rules set out in the WTO Safeguards Agreement. The US said that under Section 232 of its Trade Expansion Act, 1962, Trump has determined that tariffs are necessary to adjust imports of steel and aluminium articles that threaten to impair the national security of the US. Washington emphasized the US “actions are not safeguard measures, and therefore, there is no basis to conduct consultations under the Agreement on Safeguards with respect to these measures."

The US also rejected requests from China, the EU and Russia to enter into safeguard consultations.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, India also said it wants to join the trade dispute proceedings launched by China against the US at the WTO over steel and aluminium tariffs. China raised trade dispute proceedings on a parallel track saying the US duties violate global trade rules. India said it wants to join the dispute consultations because of its “substantial interest" as a significant exporter of steel to the US.

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