If your business is commercially harmed by subsidized competition, two remedies can be applied under the subsidy agreement: a disputed WTO settlement or a countervailing duty investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The subsidy agreement can also be very useful if your company`s exports become the target of a subsidy survey initiated by another country. The increase in export subsidies in the years leading up to the start of the Uruguay Round in 1986 was one of the main themes of these negotiations and remained a hot topic for many years in the WTO. While export subsidies for industrial products have generally been prohibited for more than 50 years, these subsidies for agricultural products have been subject to only limited disciplines. Ministers finally agreed at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in 2013 that members exercise “the utmost restraint” in the use of any form of export subsidies and “ensure as much as possible” that progress is made in eliminating all forms of export subsidies. The Nairobi decision represents a major step forward in completely eliminating all forms of agricultural export subsidies. A total of 25 members (including one for the EC) have commitments to reduce export subsidies set out in their timetables, with a total of 428 reduction commitments. 25.8 Each member may at any time submit a written request for information on the nature and extent of a grant granted or maintained by another Member (including Part IV grants) or to explain why a particular measure was considered not subject to the notification requirement. When a country restricts imports to protect its domestic producers, there must in principle be something to be done. The agreement stipulates that the exporting country (or exporting countries) can claim compensation through consultations.
In the absence of an agreement, the exporting country can retaliate, for example by taking equivalent measures, and can increase tariffs on exports from the country that applies the protection measure. In certain circumstances, the exporting country must wait three years after the protection measure is imposed before it can thus be retaliated edable, i.e. if the measure complies with the provisions of the agreement and if it is due to an increase in imports from the exporting country. Yes, yes. If your export activity is commercially harmed by subsidized foreign competition, contact the U.S. Department of Commerce`s Subsidy Enforcement Office. A representative of the Grant Enforcement Agency will work with you to gather relevant information and assess the facts. If sufficient reliable data are available, the Grants Office may consult with an inter-institutional team, including representatives of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), on how to proceed in the most effective manner of action.
In many cases, addressing the issue can lead to faster and more practical solutions than the use of WTO dispute resolution, through informal contacts, formal bilateral meetings and/or discussions within the WTO`s subsidies committee. These other approaches may also reveal additional information or improve our understanding of what the other country is doing, which may influence the decision on next steps, including the possibility of pursuing the problem for reasons other than those provided for by WTO subsidy rules. In any event, it is often advantageous to continue to resolve these problems by combining informal and formal contacts, including, to the extent warranted, dispute settlement measures within the WTO.