Notifications of various safeguard actions received since the committee's May 2023 meeting, regarding 27 products, were reviewed at the 25 October meeting, which was chaired by Mr Eungkil Jeon (Republic of Korea).
China, Japan and Australia noted that the initiations of investigations and impositions of measures in the safeguard sector seem to have decreased for now, but at the same time, they reiterated their general concern about, for example, misuse of the instrument, less than satisfactory notifications and numerous extensions.
Review of legislative notifications
The committee reviewed notifications of new or amended safeguard legislation or regulations from Japan, Mauritania, Mauritius and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It continued its review of the legislative notifications of Liberia, Cameroon and Ghana.
Specific notifications of safeguard actions
Notifications of various safeguard actions from the following members were reviewed by the committee: Costa Rica, the European Union; India (three investigations); Indonesia (seven investigations); Madagascar (four investigations); Morocco (three investigations); Peru (two investigations); South Africa; Türkiye (three investigations); the United Kingdom; and the United States.
Seven members took the floor in respect of the latest status of the European Union's safeguard measure on certain steel products.
Six members took the floor in respect of the United Kingdom's latest status of its safeguard measure on certain steel products.
Japan raised two specific items, in respect of which it raised various concerns. The first item concerned Viet Nam's measure on certain semi-finished and finished products of alloy and non-alloy steel. The second item concerned Indonesia's measure on articles of apparel and clothing accessories.
The committee adopted its report to the Council for Trade in Goods (CTG) in the context of WTO reform regarding the functioning of the committee. This report outlined the efforts made in this area and the issues on which agreement was reached. In this regard, the committee also agreed to continue discussing the joint proposal made by the delegations of Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The committee also agreed on an update of the format of its annual report in order to improve transparency.
Under “Other Business”, the Republic of Korea raised concerns with a measure imposed by India, and the Chair announced that the WTO Secretariat is embarking on the creation of an online safeguards notification portal.
As part of the steps agreed by members to improve the functioning of the committee, the timing of the two regular meetings of 2024 was set: the week of 22 April 2024 and the week of 28 October 2024.
Under the WTO rules, a member may apply measures to imports of a product temporarily (take “safeguard” actions) through higher tariffs or other measures if it determines, through an investigation, that increased imports of the product are causing or threatening to cause serious injury to its domestic industry. Unlike anti-dumping duties, safeguard measures cover imports from all sources, although imports from developing country members with a small share of imports are exempted through special and differential treatment provisions.
More background on safeguards is available here.