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US steel coalition charges India with violation of trade laws
Suman Guha Mozumdar in New York |
February 01, 2003 07:38 IST
A coalition of steel wire strand producers on Friday filed a petition with the US government charging India and four other countries with 'significantly harming' American industry by their allegedly blatant disregard of US trade laws.
In the petition, the PC Strand Coalition presented 'evidence' that imports from India, Brazil, Korea, Mexico and Thailand have injured the domestic steel wire strand industry through an unfair trade practice known as dumping.
The coalition members want anti-dumping duties ranging up to 122 per cent imposed on imports from the five countries.
The petition alleges that the Indian government substantially aides its steel wire strand industry by providing export and regional subsidies to producers.
The focus of the trade case is pre-stressed concrete steel wire strand, commonly known as PC strand. In 2002, the US market for PC strand was approximately $190 million.
Annual import data for 2000, 2001 and 2002, the period of investigation used in the petition, reflect that imports from these five countries grew significantly and represented an increasing share of the US market.
Between 2000 and 2002, combined imports from the five countries increased by almost 40 per cent, from 61,597 to 85,359 short tons.
These imports, according to the petition, captured 22 per cent of the US market in 2002 at the direct expense of the local industry.
Last year, a World Trade Organisation panel faulted the US for imposing anti-dumping duties on steel plates from India, a year after New Delhi requested the dispute settlement body to set up such a panel.
The filing of this latest petition comes less than two weeks after New Delhi informed the WTO that India and the US have mutually agreed to modify the 'reasonable period of time' for implementation of its recommendations and rulings.
The petition filed on Friday alleged that PC strand producers in these countries engaged in rampant underselling, forcing price reductions on the domestic industry. These price reductions, in turn, led to a severe deterioration in the industry's financial condition, including significant financial losses in 2002.
"In addition to monitoring imports from all countries, we are watching for import surges from the named countries," said coalition spokesman and counsel Paul C Rosenthal.
"If they attempt to 'beat the clock' by rushing product into the US market to avoid the anti-dumping and countervailing duties, we are prepared to file a 'critical circumstances' request to ensure that the duties are imposed on these imports as well," he said.
Rosenthal warned foreign producers that an import-monitoring program is in place to assess whether imports from other countries are causing injury to US firms through unfair trading practices and that appropriate action will be taken, if necessary.
Further, he said, the industry is watching for any import surges from these countries.
The filing of an unfair trade petition initiates a year-long investigative process.
The first step of the process takes place within 45 days of the filing when the International Trade Commission determines whether the imports are causing or threaten to cause material injury to the domestic industry.
To win a dumping case and demonstrate that unfair foreign government subsidisation has occurred, the US industry must not only prove that unfair trade actions took place, but also the unfairly traded imports are materially injuring or threatening material injury to the domestic industry.
Injury is determined through such factors as reduced profits, declining market share and employee reductions.