WTO member countries on Tuesday raised concern over the US administration's decision to increase import duty on aluminium and steel products, fearing escalation of trade war.
Several countries expressed fear that the decision to hike import duties on aluminium and steel have the “real potential” to escalate trade war. They are of the view that countries may respond to the move with import restrictive measures.
WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, replying to a question at the conference, said such a move by the US administration "have very real potential for escalation".
"And that is something we should avoid and that is what we heard today. Many countries saying we have a concern with it, there is potential for escalation and we have to proceed very carefully and try to work within framework of the WTO," he said.
He said that the issue should be resolved within the multilateral framework to avoid a disruptive and unpredictable scenario in global trade.
Concluding the conference, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said almost all members underlined the need to "preserve and enhance" the functioning and credibility of the rule-based multilateral trading system.
Prabhu also said issues relating to reform in domestic support, a permanent solution on public stock holding for food security purpose, cotton and agriculture special safeguard mechanism were identified as priority areas in some interventions.
The two-day conference, which concluded today, had representations from 53 WTO member countries, including the United States, China, and the EU. The conference was also attended by a representative of the Pakistan High Commission in India.
Other issues discussed included appointment of members of the appellate body of WTO, Doha Development Agenda, subsidy on fisheries, food security, e-commerce, investment facilitation and gender issues were discussed.
The WTO members also deliberated on special treatment for developing nations at their informal ministerial conference here.
(With inputs from agencies)