New Delhi: Reversing its neutral stance on the unilateral steel and aluminium tariff hikes imposed by the Donald Trump administration, India on Wednesday asked to join China, seeking consultation in order to set up a dispute settlement mechanism under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In its submission before the WTO, India said it has a substantial trade interest in these consultations. “India is a significant exporter of steel and aluminium products to the United States. As a result of this substantial trade interest, India respectfully requests that it be permitted to join the consultations in this dispute," it added.

On Tuesday, India had joined China and the European Union in raising the issue of the US imposing higher tariffs on certain steel items in the committee of safeguards of the WTO, seeking consultation.

Through a presidential proclamation, the US on 8 March, indicated that steel articles are being imported into the US in such quantities as to threaten to impair the national security of the country. To address this situation, the US imposed a 25% tariff on certain steel articles with effect from 23 March.

India has so far reacted cautiously to the US provocations on the trade front. The Trump administration has been accusing India of unfair trade practices and has challenged most of its export subsidies at the WTO. On Friday, the US Treasury Department added India to the currency practices watch list saying New Delhi increased its purchase of foreign exchange by $56 billion in 2017, which does not appear necessary given its already robust foreign exchange reserves. It has also put India’s $5.6 billion worth exports under the generalized system of preferences under review.

India’s trade minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday said it is working with the US to resolve all trade issues through dialogue. “We have a special relation with the US, which is multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and also very strategic. We are working with the US to address the trade issues," he told reporters.

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