The subsidies, tax and the calculation of the margin of subsidisation

19 Feb 2013

Countervailing investigations are aimed at determining whether subsidised imports cause material injury to a domestic industry producing the like product to the imported product (art VI.6(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994; art 19.1 of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (Subsidies Agreement)). The WTO GATT 1994 contains some rules regarding countervailing investigations (art VI), but most of the rules are contained in the Subsidies Agreement. If it is found that subsidised imports cause material injury to the domestic industry, the importing country may impose countervailing duties to offset the effect of the subsidisation (art VI.6(a) of GATT 1994; art 19.1 of the Subsidies Agreement). South Africa, as a WTO Member and therefore signatory to the Subsidies Agreement, is required to conduct countervailing investigations in line with the Subsidies Agreement (art II.2 of the WTO Agreement; Degussa Africa (Pty) Ltd and Another v International Trade Administration Commission and Others (22264/2007) [2007] ZAGPHC 112 (20 June 2007), available at http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAGPHC/2007/112.html). The Subsidies Agreement specifically requires Members to indicate in their legislation how the margin of subsidisation will be determined (art 14).