INDEPENDENT NEWS

Another win for New Zealand

Published: Tue 11 Nov 2003 08:30 AM
Another win for New Zealand
New Zealand's arguments against American safeguards on steel imports have been upheld again, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton confirmed today.
The World Trade Organisation's appellate body has confirmed that United States safeguards on imports of steel breach WTO obligations.
Mr Sutton said that while New Zealand's steel industry was small by international standards, it makes an important contribution to our economy.
"When the United States imposed its measures in March last year, New Zealand took early action, with other affected WTO members, through the WTO dispute settlement process. We have always been confident that the safeguards imposed by the United States would be found to be inconsistent with US obligations under the WTO agreements. Today's decision vindicates our position."
The Appellate Body ruling is the latest in the challenge brought by New Zealand, Brazil, China, Japan, Korea, the European Community, Norway and Switzerland against the safeguard measures imposed by the United States on a wide range of imported steel products. This included a 30% tariff on New Zealand Steel's exports into the United States market, valued at nearly $70 million before the safeguard was imposed.
Mr Sutton said the latest ruling reinforced the importance and value of the rules-based WTO system to New Zealand.
"The dispute settlement system has already enabled New Zealand to protect its agricultural export interests by securing access to Europe for our butter, the removal of unjustified safeguard tariffs on our lamb exports to the United States, as well as successfully challenging unlawful Canadian export subsidies in the dairy sector. The successful result in the steel case now shows the benefits of the WTO dispute settlement system for New Zealand are not limited to the agricultural sector."
Mr Sutton said New Zealand, along with the other countries involved, would encourage the United States to remove the safeguards without delay.

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