At a meeting on 26th April the WTO´s (World Trade Organization) Committee on Safeguards examined 5 member country notifications of changes in their respective safeguards legislation and reviewed 43 safeguard actions. The meeting also elected new authorities to the Committee, with Tobias Lorentzson from Sweden becoming the elected chairman Do-Yeon Won of South Korea the new vice-chairman.
The notifications of amendments to existing safeguard legislation or of implementation of completely new legislation were made by Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Japan, Vietnam and Zambia.
The Committee´s press release concerning the 43 safeguard actions evaluated during the meeting places particular emphasis on concluded investigations requiring no further action: Brazil (CD-R and DVD-R), Chile (powdered milk and gouda cheese), the Dominican Republic (bottles, flasks and other glass containers), India (unwrought aluminum, aluminum waste and aluminum scraps; hot rolled coils/sheets/strips; coated paper and paper board; uncoated paper and copy paper; oxo-alcohols; particle board; linear alkyl benzene; and acrylic fiber), Peru (cotton yarn), Ukraine (liquid chlorine), and Vietnam (float glass).
Though the conclusion of these investigations was welcomed by all delegations, the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) expressed particular concern over those conducted by India which they claim to have been based on largely unsubstantiated complaints and which led to excessive market uncertainty for several industries. They insisted that India refrain from this attitude in the future. The Canadian delegation called attention to the enormous number of safeguard actions taken recently by members, sustaining that such actions were originally designed to be used only under special circumstances.
Though the Philippines reported the termination of its safeguard measures on glass mirrors, Thailand expressed its concern over the continued safeguard measures applying to float glass and figured glass. Jordan announced the elimination of safeguard measures on footwear, but failed to comply with the request by the EU and Egypt to also terminate measures on ceramic tiles.
New investigations started by the Dominican Republic on polypropylene bags, toilet paper, and tubular fabric, raised a large number of complaints from other Central American and Caribbean countries, especially from Costa Rica. The delegations of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica requested the Dominican Republic to terminate the provisional duties imposed on polypropylene bags and tubular fabric (38% ad valorem) and to refund those already collected.
The Committee agreed to continue informal discussions on the issue of exemption for developing countries from the safeguard actions described in Article 9.1 of the Safeguards Agreement.