WTO Establishes Panel to Review Indian Duties on ICT Products

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  • India said the complainants were essentially seeking to get it to take on commitments under ITA-II to which it never agreed and take advantage of an error made by India when transposing its tariff lines to the updated HS

The European Union (EU) had presented its second request for a panel to rule on India’s import tariffs on certain information and communications technology (ICT) goods. It is to be noted here that the EU’s first request was blocked at the last Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting on Fifth March 2020.

“India said it was disappointed with the EU’s second request, which it said seeks to take advantage of an error made by India when transposing its tariff lines to an updated Harmonized System (HS) and oblige India to accept commitments under the expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA-II) to which it never agreed,” read an article posted on WTO’s website.

It continued, “India also said it was not in a position to agree to the request for a single panel as the matters at issue cannot be said to be related.”

Japan, the United States and Chinese Taipei shared the concerns

Japan, the United States and Chinese Taipei said they shared the concerns raised by the EU regarding India’s tariffs. The DSB agreed to the establishment of a panel. Chinese Taipei, Japan, the United States, Canada, Turkey, Korea, China, Brazil, Indonesia, Norway, Singapore, Thailand, Russia and Pakistan reserved their third party rights to participate in the proceedings as informed by WTO.

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As with the EU, Japan and Chinese Taipei said that India is applying tariffs on the products in question in excess of the 0 per cent bound rate set out in its WTO schedule of commitments. Consultations with India were held with both Japan and Chinese Taipei in May 2019 but failed to resolve the disputes, prompting the two to submit their requests for a panel.

India said the complainants were essentially seeking to get it to take on commitments under ITA-II to which it never agreed and take advantage of an error made by India when transposing its tariff lines to the updated HS.

“The complaint seriously undermines India’s sovereignty as it goes beyond the consent India provided when it agreed to accept the first ITA agreement (ITA-I), India said, adding that it was therefore not in a position to agree to the establishment of the panels,” read the article posted by WTO.

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