TOKYO: Japan is threatening to take India to the WTO over restrictions that nearly halved its steel exports to the South Asian nation over the past year, a step that could trigger more trade spats as global tensions over steel and other commodities run high.
Such action is rare for Japan . The world’s second-biggest steel producer typically tries to smooth disputes quietly through bilateral talks, but with global trade friction increasing, Japan’s defence of an industry that sells nearly half of its products overseas is getting more vigorous.
Besides concern over India’s protection of its domestic steel industry, Japan is also worried about the more rough and tumble climate for global trade being engendered by incoming US President Donald Trump , and feels it must make a strong stand for open and fair international markets.
“We need to stop unfair trade actions from spreading,” said a Japanese industry ministry official, explaining a December 20 request for WTO dispute consultations with India over steel safeguard duties and a minimum import price for iron and steel products.