USW Raises Renewed Concerns about WTO Appellate Body Decisions on U.S. Countervailing Duty Measures

Contact: Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444, wranick@usw.org

(Pittsburgh) – United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard today expressed deep concern with the WTO Appellate Body and especially its continuing interference in the administration of U.S. trade remedy laws through interpretations of WTO agreements. 

“Yesterday’s decision by the WTO Appellate Body regarding Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Product from India undermines fair trade and usurps the sovereignty of the United States by creating obligations that are not contained in WTO agreements.  

“For many decades, Congress and our agencies have understood that domestic industries and their workers have been harmed by the devastating effects of unfairly traded imports from multiple sources. 

“In finding that cross-cumulation is inconsistent with U.S. obligations ‘as such,’ the Appellate Body is yet again making decisions in a vacuum that ignore the very real human and commercial consequences of their interpretations that commonly affect industries and workers when unfairly traded goods come from more than one country.

“Similarly, efforts of the Appellate Body to force administrators to consider what a non-cooperating party’s data may have shown, is an exercise in futility that encourages non-compliance or selective compliance by respondents, including foreign governments.  We do not need more opportunities for unfair traders to game the system.

“These are very real and serious problems that the Appellate Body should allow administrators to address without imposing a series of other requirements that obstruct getting full and accurate information in a timely manner.

“In addition, the Appellate Body missed an important opportunity to clarify its overly broad restriction on what constitutes a public body under the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement.

“The distortions that many governments, including India, create in the global steel market through entities they control are pronounced, and the continuing limitations on governments investigating whether these entities are truly ‘public bodies’ are unfounded.

“These practices threaten market-based economies and, more importantly, their workers.

“Our members depend on conditions of fair trade. The constant covering up of unfair trade practices by wrongheaded Appellate Body decisions is unacceptable and must be addressed. The U.S. Government should demand that the Appellate Body’s actions be corrected. The WTO is losing public support day-by-day as a result of many of their wrongheaded decisions.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.  For more information: http://www.usw.org.

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