WTO says S Korea’s tariffs on stainless steel bars from Japan inconsistent with its rules

The World Trade Organization has ruled that South Korea’s anti-dumping duties on stainless steel bar imports from Japan were inconsistent with the WTO’s anti-dumping agreement.

“We conclude that, to the extent that the measures at issue are inconsistent with certain provisions of the Anti-Dumping Agreement, they have nullified or impaired benefits accruing to Japan under that Agreement,” the WTO said Nov. 30. “…we recommend that Korea bring its measure into conformity with its obligations under the Anti-Dumping Agreement.”

The WTO’s decision comes after Japan, in June 2018, lodged a request with the WTO over the duties that were initially imposed in July 30, 2004, and were extended three times following sunset reviews. The duties were set at 15.39% on stainless bars imported from Japan from June 2, 2017.

In January 2020, South Korea started a fourth sunset review of the duties. As such, the current extension will continue until South Korea “decides whether or not another extension measure should be imposed on the product in question based on the fourth sunset review,” the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Dec. 1.

METI data showed that exports of stainless steel bars from Japan to South Korea fell to 3,791 mt in 2019 from 9,269 mt in 2002.

The WTO’s agreement sets the rules for allowing members to take action against dumping in order to defend its domestic industries.

— Clement Choo