The Norwegian Government has decided to introduce an extra duty of 30 per cent on certain US goods unless the US lifts the safeguard measures it has imposed on Norwegian steel exports. The duty will be introduced as soon as the WTO has formally determined that these safeguard measures violate WTO rules.
The multilateral trading system is an important guarantee against arbitrariness, protectionism and domination by the strong and powerful. This is extremely important for a country like Norway, with its open, export-based economy. Foreign Minister Jan Petersen says that it is essential to ensure that trade rules are followed. Norway will therefore join with the EU and other countries affected by the safeguard measures in making use of the re-balancing measures that are authorised by WTO rules unless the US rescinds the illegal safeguard measures.
The formal ruling that the US measures are inconsistent with WTO rules will be made by the Dispute Settlement Body on 1 December. Unless the US lifts the safeguard measures, Norway will introduce the extra duty from 6 December 2003, at the same time as the EU. Norway will raise tariffs on specific products within the following categories: iron and steel products, clothes, wine, apples and hunting and target-shooting rifles (see the attached list). The re-balancing measures will affect imports from the US to a value of NOK 84 million, calculated on the basis of the total import value in 2002. The extra duty is additional to any ordinary customs duty on the goods in question.
The extra duty is consistent with Norway’s rights under WTO rules, and will be lifted as soon as the US lifts the safeguard measures that affect Norwegian exports, and at the latest when these expire in March 2005.
In March 2002 the USA imposed additional duties and other safeguard measures on imports of a number of steel products for a three-year period. The measures affected exports from a number of countries. 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, Japan, Korea, China, Switzerland, New Zealand and Brazil initiated WTO dispute settlement procedures against the US. 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.
Products affected by Norwegian re-balancing measures against the US in the steel dispute:
HS 08081022 Apples, fresh, from 1 December to 30 April
HS 22042109 Wine of fresh grapes, other than sparkling wine, of an alcoholic strength by volume of above 2.5 per cent
HS 61102000 Jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of cotton
HS 72107000 Flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, clad, plated or coated: Painted, varnished or coated with plastics.
HS 72199000 Flat-rolled products of stainless steel, of a width of 600 mm or more, other
HS 73072900 Tube or pipe fittings, of stainless steel, other than flanges, butt welding fittings and threaded elbows, bends and sleeves
HS 73079900 Tube or pipe fittings, of iron or steel, other than cast fittings or of stainless steel, and other than flanges, butt welding fittings and threaded elbows, bends and sleeves
HS 73089005 Garage doors and other doors, of iron or steel, other than containing regulated chlorofluorcarbons
HS 73211100 Cooking appliances and plate warmers, of iron or steel, for gas fuel or for both gas and other fuels
HS 93033002 Hunting or target-shooting rifles, with rifled barrels