EU rejects Indian demand to review anti-dumping and anti-subs

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at
Mon Nov 29 17:23:09 PST 1999

Rediff On The NeT November 25, 1999 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 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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