New Delhi: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Wednesday set up two more dispute settlement panels at the request of Japan and Taiwan targeting the import duties imposed by India on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products including mobile phones, taking the total number of panels on the issue to three. However, New Delhi said it would not agree to the establishment of a single panel to review the complaints of Japan, Taiwan and the EU since there were vast differences in in the three complaints.
“While Japan has cited 39 distinct measures in its complaint, the EU and Chinese Taipei have given 6 measures,” said a Geneva-based official. All three have pushed for the establishment of a single panel.
Losing the disputes would make China the main beneficiary as India imported $15.7 billion of electronics, telecom equipment and computer hardware from that country in FY20.
New Delhi informed the Geneva-based organisation that Japan’s complaint was essentially seeking to get India to take commitments under Information Technology Agreement-II which it never agreed to. Besides, it also seeks to take advantage of an error made by India when it was repositioning its tariff lines to the updated Harmonized System of tariffs.
The three panels have been setup to decide on New Delhi’s move to levy 10% customs duty on mobile phones and some other ICT products for the first time in July 2017 which it increased to 15% that year. The duties were further increased to 20% despite opposition from a number of WTO members. The EU, US, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Canada, Japan and Thailand initiated consultations with India on the matter claiming that the move substantially affects them.
The US, Turkey, the UK, Norway, Singapore, Thailand, Russia, Brazil, Korea, China, Canada and Indonesia are some of the third parties to the dispute is a implying that they are neither the complainants nor respondents but have a substantial interest in the matter.
Source : Times of IndiA