On June 1, Vietnam requested Indonesia engage in the World Trade Organisation’s consultations to resettle their dispute over an Indonesian safeguard measure imposed on Vietnamese flat-rolled products of iron, or non-alloy steel.

The request was announced on the WTO’s website.

According to the WTO, the consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation. After 60 days, if consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.

The Vietnamese request followed its failed attempts to protect domestic steel manufacturers under the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and Agreement on Safeguards. This time, the Southeast Asian nation hopes to settle the dispute without the establishment of a WTO adjudication panel.

On July 7, 2014, the Indonesian Government issued a 3-year anti-dumping duty on flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel imported from key supplier nations, including Vietnam, Taiwan and the Republic of Korea. Accordingly, the products face tariffs at 50 percent in 2014, 46 percent in 2015 and 41 percent in 2016.

Vietnam has suffered greatly as the country used to occupy as much as 60 percent of the Indonesian market for flat-rolled iron product imports. After the trade defence measure took effect, the Hoa Sen Group—Vietnam’s biggest exporter of flat-rolled products of iron, had to stop its shipments to Indonesia.-VNA