EU rejects Indian demand to review
anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rules
Ranvir Nayar in Paris
The European Union has rejected the Indian demand to review rules governing
anti-subsidy and anti-dumping measures at the Seattle Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation set to open next week.
The EU has also urged the developing countries, especially
India, to desist from focusing too much on anti-subsidy and anti-dumping issues
during the conference.
India, leading the G-77 group of developing countries, has made it
clear that it would raise the issue of large number of anti dumping and anti
subsidy measures that the Untied States and the European Union have
resorted to against imports from the developing countries.
''The high number of these actions clearly indicates that the developed world is using these as
protectionist measures aimed at keeping their markets closed to imports from the developing countries,'' says an Indian official. This was also the observation of the recently concluded G-77 plus China meeting that was held to decide the stance that the developing countries would take during the Seattle Conference.
The developing countries want a comprehensive review of the entire process. However, the EC has firmly rejected the idea of renegotiating the agreement. ''The rules of the Uruguay Round are fairly detailed. We do not have any interest in recommencing the entire negotiating process,'' Serge Andre Abou, director of the Anti Dumping and Anti Subsidies Unit, of the
European Commission told rediff.com in Brussels recently.
Abou conceded that there might be room to give more air to the developing countries' point of view during the Seattle Conference, but added that the developing countries had been putting too much attention on this issue. ''I hope that the developing countries will use the opportunity of the Seattle Conference to see that they get some real benefits.''
''I don't believe you can dump your way to development. So the developing countries should seek conditions that help them compete in the global markets,'' says Abou.
Abou also contests the claims of the developing countries that the EU is
using these measures in order to protect its markets. Instead, Abou
revealed that a recent study conducted by the EU indicated that in terms of total
imports, EU ranked 15th in the whole world on the number of anti dumping and
anti subsidy measures, while India was seventh.
''We are very generous in our approach. Of the every 100 complaints that we
get, we launch only 50 investigations. Of these, only 25 result in a
definitive duty and only 12.5 will see a renewal of the duty after the five-year period. Moreover, when we look at the de minimus limit to see which
companies can be excluded, we apply the rule of 1 per cent of the domestic
market consumption, which is much more liberal than the 3 per cent of
imports as provided for under the WTO,'' remarks Abou.
He adds that the EU was prepared for an increase in the limit to 5 per
cent, but cautioned that it was a double edged weapon for large developing
countries like India. ''Today, India feels that an increase in the de
minimus limit will favour its exporters. But India should take a longer
term view of the situation. India is already one of the biggest markets and it
is growing fast. And in a few years, India will have to open its market to
exports from other countries. In that case, an increase in the de minimus
will go against the Indian interests, since it will seriously curtail the
capability of the Indian government to initiate anti dumping actions.
Hence, India could very well be a target for dumping and there will be nothing
that your government will be able to do then,'' warns Abou.
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