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India lodges challenge to US at WTO

Keywords: Tags  WTO, Commerce Department, countervailing duties, trade petition, JMC Steel, Allied Tube & Conduit, Sharon Tube, U.S. Steel Welspun

TORONTO — India is disputing U.S. countervailing duties imposed against certain steel products from the South Asian nation, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said Thursday.

India requested consultations with the United States in a move that formally initiates the dispute process, which gives each side a chance to negotiate without entering into to litigation. If no agreement is reached within 60 days, India can request adjudication before a WTO panel, the agency said.

Specific steel products were not identified by the WTO, but the U.S. Commerce Department on March 27 announced affirmative preliminary countervailing duty rates on circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe from India, Vietnam, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Indian producers and exporters received a preliminary rate of 285.95 percent (AMM, March 28).

The petitioners were Allied Tube & Conduit Corp., Harvey, Ill.; JMC Steel Group Inc., Chicago; Wheatland Tube Co., Sharon, Pa.; and U.S. Steel Corp., Pittsburgh.

After the Commerce announcement, Mumbai, India-based Welspun Corp. Ltd. said that its U.S. facilities stood to benefit from the preliminary import duties. It noted that it wasn’t shipping any product covered by the duties to the United States.

Welspun is investing $100 million to build a 175,000-tonne-per-year electric-resistance welded (ERW) pipe and coating plant in Little Rock, Ark., to serve its North American customers (AMM, Feb. 24).

Welspun Little Rock plant is aimed at displacing imports, it has said, noting the duties would "protect" U.S. domestic industry and "have a positive impact" on Welspun operations there.

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