India, along with several other countries, has criticized the EU and the UK for their safeguard measures on steel imports. These measures are seen as inconsistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. India also revealed that UK's safeguards have led to a significant decline in its steel exports.
During a recent meeting of the WTO's Safeguards Committee, multiple countries including India, Russia, Switzerland, and Japan raised concerns about the safeguard measures imposed by the European Union and the United Kingdom on steel imports. These countries argue that the measures do not align with global trade norms.
The EU had earlier decided to maintain its safeguard measure on imports of certain steel products, originally imposed in response to additional duties levied by the U.S. during the Trump administration. Countries like India have expressed disappointment that the EU did not remove the measure despite a recent review.
Similarly, the UK has also drawn criticism for its safeguard measures on steel imports. Nations like India, Korea, Switzerland, and Brazil have questioned the UK's compliance with WTO regulations.
Last year, India proposed a 15% additional customs duty on 22 products from the UK, including whiskey and cheese. This was in retaliation to the UK's restrictions on steel products. According to a WTO communication, these measures have resulted in a decline of exports by 219,000 metric tons, with a duty collection of $247.7 million.
In 2021, India had proposed similar action against the European Union under the WTO framework. This was in response to the EU's move to impose safeguard duties on certain Indian steel products.
The UK's safeguard measures consist of tariff-rate quotas imposed on 15 steel product categories, with an out-of-quota duty of 25%. Such actions have serious financial ramifications for countries exporting steel products, significantly affecting their trade balance.
The ongoing disagreement over steel import safeguards is a thorny issue that challenges the very essence of free trade, as envisioned by the WTO. As multiple countries voice their concerns, it remains to be seen how the EU and the UK will address these issues to align with global trade standards.