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Concerns about global steel overcapacity raised at WTO

May 10, 2016

The current global overcapacity in the steel production sector, and the resulting distortions in steel trade, are triggering an increase in the initiation of safeguard and anti-dumping investigations on steel products.

At a recent meeting at the World Trade Organization (WTO) one member said 41 new anti-dumping investigations targeting steel imports were triggered in 2015 compared to 23 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In addition, the member cited serious concern with the growing number of safeguard measures targeting steel imports over recent years.

Concerns were also expressed at the WTO about the absence of information regarding government subsidy programmes in general as well as subsidy programmes provided to steel producers. Many members observed that compliance with the obligation to notify specific subsidies was low and declining, and that this was a major systemic problem for the operation of the Subsidies Agreement.

The comments were made at an April 25 meeting of the WTO's Committee on Safeguards, an April 26-27 meeting of the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and an April 27 meeting of the Committee on Anti-dumping Practices.

The WTO is likely to soon become the privileged forum to discuss and negotiate a resolution to global steel overcapacity.

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