Three types of trade defence instruments available to WTO member i.e. anti dumping, countervailing (anti‐subsidy) and safeguard measures. Dumping in general is the price discrimination between the two markets, countervailing measures addresses benefits in the form of subsidies provided by the government of exporting country to make them more competitive.  Safeguard measures are invoked to protect the domestic industries from the increased imports causing them serious injury to give them breathing time to become import competitive. In India, anti dumping and countervailing duty recommendations are made by the Designated Authority in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (Department of Commerce); while safeguard recommendations are made by the Director General of Safeguards under Ministry of Finance.

While Canada and US are using these measure to protect their domestic industry, India, formally commenced taking actions under these laws since 1995 after WTO came in existence. The three kind of trade remedial actions are taken under respective Indian Rules made by the Govt. of India for which necessary legal provisions have been brought under Customs Tariff Act by insertion of Section 8B, 9, 9A, 9B and 9C. As the three measures are different and serve different purpose, the procedure followed by the Authorities in India for conducting the investigation is not identical. At the same time, given their very nature, such procedures are quite similar.

WTO Agreement provides only limited prescriptions with regard to time limits for an initiated case. The Agreement proscribes imposition of interim measures unless a time period of 60 days has prescribed. An initiated investigation must be completed within 12 months which can be extended not for more than six months. Disclosure of essential facts must be made before a final determination is made. Interested parties must be given at least 30 days to respond to an investigation initiated. 7 days must be considered as minimum transmission time for communication of initiation decision and request for information. The Government of exporting country must be notified before initiation of investigations. However, various WTO members have created stringent time limits forvarious actions. There is no time limit in Indian Rules except 12 months for completion of an investigation which also can be extended for further 6 months. However, all countries issue disclosure of essential facts under consideration which shall form the basis of determination prior to issuance of final finding.

About Author:
Mr Praveen Khandelwal
Executive Partner
TPM
New Delhi

1 Government is planning to merge DGAD and DG Safeguards and create a new body called Directorate General of Trade Remedies.