The Norwegian Government has decided to introduce an extra duty of 30 per cent on certain US goods. This will be done after the World Trade Organisation has formally determined that US safeguard measures violate WTO rules.
The WTO meeting that is to formally deal with the matter has been postponed for nine days, until 10 December. This means that if the USA fails to lift its safeguard measures, Norway will introduce the extra duty as from 15 December 2003, at the same time as the EU introduces its measures.
The extra duty will be lifted as soon as the USA lifts the safeguard measures against Norwegian exports, and at the latest when these expire in March 2005.
As far as Norway is concerned, the measures will affect specific products within the following categories: iron and steel products, clothing, wine, apples and hunting and target-shooting rifles.
In March 2002 the USA imposed countervailing duties and other safeguard measures on imports of a number of steel products for a three-year period. In Norway’s case, the measures affected exports of tin mill products to the USA from the Bergen firm Corus Packaging Plus.
In addition to Norway, the EU and six other countries initiated WTO dispute settlement procedures against the USA. In July 2003, a Dispute Settlement Panel ruled that the US measures were inconsistent with WTO rules, and the Appellate Body upheld the Panel’s findings earlier this month. The Appellate Body’s decision is final, and will become binding on the USA when it has been upheld by the Dispute Settlement Body, which in practice happens automatically.