August 18, 2017 / 2:47 PM / a year ago

WTO mixed ruling in Indonesia steel import duties case

GENEVA, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Duties imposed by Indonesia on imports of certain flat-rolled iron or steel products do not constitute WTO safeguard measures, a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel said on Friday, rejecting the key argument of complaints brought by Taiwan and Vietnam.

Safeguard duties are emergency tariffs that a country can impose temporarily to shield a specific sector from a sudden and damaging surge in imports. The panel found that Indonesia’s duty did not amount to a safeguard measure because it did not result in suspending, withdrawing or modifying any of Jakarta’s commitments under the GATT 1994 Agreement on Safeguards.

However the WTO panel, ruling on the two cases brought in 2015, found Indonesia violated its duty to afford most-favoured-nation treatment to imports of galvalume, used in cars and roof insulation, from all sources with the exception of 120 developing countries listed in its notification to the WTO.

The three countries in the dispute have 60 days to appeal.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by John Stonestreet

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