EU agrees to January deadline to comply with WTO ruling on steel import curbs

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BERLIN, Aug 9 (Reuters) - The European Union and Turkey have agreed the bloc has until Jan. 16 next year to comply with a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling regarding its "safeguard" measures designed to curb steel imports, the WTO said on Tuesday.

The EU introduced "safeguard" measures in July 2018 in the form of tariff-rate quotas. They allow various grades of steel to come into the bloc free of tariffs up to certain quotas, but any further imports face 25% tariffs.

Turkey, which is a major steel exporter to the EU, complained that the EU's measures breached the bloc's commitments to the WTO.

Under WTO rules, members are allowed to impose safeguards under specific conditions, including that imports have risen to the point where they are damaging domestic industry and that this should be the result of "unforeseen developments".

A WTO panel in April accepted Turkey's view that the European Commission had failed to show that steel imports rose because of unforeseen developments and that the EU industry was threatened with serious injury. (Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)