As India and the United States agreed to bilaterally settle six outstanding disputes the countries are fighting at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Indian steel and aluminium exporters will see their market access restored by the U.S., Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi on Friday, the minister said that as part of the agreement jointly communicated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joseph Biden during the official state visit of the Prime Minister to the U.S., the U.S. has agreed to grant market access to steel and aluminium products under the exclusion process of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act 1962. India has agreed to remove the additional duty, i.e., retaliatory tariffs on certain products. However, the prevailing basic import duty on these products applicable to all imports will continue, the minister said.

Since June 14, 2018, the U.S. has been levying additional duties of 25% and 10% on Indian steel and aluminium products due to the ongoing dispute. "As part of the market access, going forward, the US Department of Commerce will clear 70% of steel and 80% of aluminium applications for products originating in India. These applications will be made under the exclusion process of Sec. 232 by the importers on behalf of the exporters. It would provide significant impetus to raise India's Steel and Aluminium exports by about 35%," the minister said.

The six trade disputes that will be terminated are as follows: Three of them have been filed by India against the U.S. namely, Countervailing Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Products from India; Certain Measures Relating to the Renewable Energy Sector; and Certain Measures on Steel and Aluminum Products. While the other three disputes, which have been filed by the U.S. against India are: Certain Measures Relating to Solar Cells and Solar Modules; Export Related Measures, and Additional Duties on Certain Products from the United States.

Goyal said that India and the U.S. have actively engaged in discussions during the last two years to terminate these six outstanding disputes at the WTO. These disputes have been filed by India and the U.S. over a decade, representing certain key sectors of the economy such as steel, aluminium, renewable energy, solar products, and certain key export-related measures.

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