WTO to probe Egypt’s steel import duties
WTO to probe Egypt’s steel import duties: The World Trade Organization (WTO) will meet with Egyptian officials to discuss the recently imposed duties on steel imports during its November committee meetings, according to a press release (pdf). The Trade Ministry last month introduced 180-day import duties of 25% on finished steel rebar and 3-15% on iron pellets in a bid to protect local manufacturers. The WTO meetings come after Japan, Australia and South Korea complained that the country’s anti-dumping measures violate WTO rules. The global trade body will also hold talks with the European Union, Morocco, Canada and the Eurasian Economic Union, which have adopted similar protectionist measures.
Where will Egypt go from here? The temporary measure may be made permanent as soon as the ministry completes a study on whether these products are being dumped in Egypt. Sources told the local press that the Industrial Development Authority received a letter from the WTO about the measures, but provided no further details.
What do WTO rules say? Under WTO rules, a country is allowed to take emergency measures such as introducing temporary tariffs, subsidies and import quotas if its local industry is under serious threat by increasing imports. Key here is that the industry has to face “serious injury” before the government can take action — and a detailed investigation must take place in order to quantify the damage. Countries are also not permitted to target imports from specific countries.