June 11, 2021
On June 11, 2021, Japan requested consultations with China under the WTO Agreement regarding China’s measure imposing anti-dumping duties on stainless steel products, which has been in place since July 2019.
In July 2019, China started imposing anti-dumping (AD) duties (hereinafter referred to as the “AD measure”) on stainless steel products imported from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, and the EU, claiming that its domestic industry was being injured by the dumped imports of such products. (The AD measure is scheduled to be in place for five years.)
Japan considers the AD measure to be inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (the WTO Anti-dumping Agreement) due to flaws in the Chinese authorities’ determination and its investigation procedures.
Japan has repeatedly asked China to abolish the AD measure at the WTO and in bilateral meetings, but has failed to resolve the issue. Therefore, it has requested consultations under the WTO Agreement.
The specific schedules for the consultations will be coordinated with China in due course.
- Stainless steel products (the products in question)
The AD measure covers stainless steel slabs, hot-rolled stainless steel sheets (cut sheets and plates), and hot-rolled stainless steel coils. Stainless steel slabs are semi-processed products that are obtained by casting refined melted steel. Hot-rolled stainless steel sheets are used in industrial machinery and as construction materials for structures such as ships and bridges. Uses of hot-rolled stainless steel coils include as semi-finished products of cold rolled stainless steel products for automotive parts and household electric appliances.
- Anti-dumping dutyAn anti-dumping duty is a customs duty imposed on a certain product by an importing country where it is demonstrated that the export price of the product is less than its selling price destined for consumption in the exporting country and the dumped imports are causing injury to the competing industry in the importing country. The value of the anti-dumping duty cannot exceed the difference between the export price of the product in question and its domestic selling price in the exporting country.
- Total value of exports of the products in question from Japan to ChinaThe total value of exports of stainless steel from Japan to China is approximately 70 billion yen per year, of which exports of the products subject to the AD measure account for approximately 9.2 billion yen (both figures as of 2019).
- Consultations under the WTO Agreement
Under the WTO Agreement, prior to the submission of a request for the establishment of a panel (corresponding to the first trial) for determining whether measures at issue are inconsistent with the WTO Agreement, the parties concerned are required to hold a consultation meeting and recommended to settle the dispute by reaching a mutually satisfactory solution (Article 4 of Annex 2 to the WTO Agreement: Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes).