: India has termed as “unilateral action” a recent move by the United States to terminate an exemption given to developing countries from countervailing duty (CVD) investigations.
Separately, it also criticised another US decision to unilaterally remove India and Turkey from a list of developing countries that are exempt from safeguard duty on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and large residential washers, last year.
India said such actions “fuel our apprehensions that the real purpose…is to ultimately terminate Special and Differential Treatment (S&DT) at the World Trade Organization altogether”.
Last month, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) eliminated a host of countries, including India, Brazil, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Africa and Argentina from getting special preferences under the country’s methodology for CVD investigations. The reason it stated — the previous guidance that dates back to 1998 “is now obsolete.”
The US removed India from the list on account of it being a G-20 member and having a share of 0.5% or more of world trade.
“S&DT is a treaty embedded right at the WTO, an entitlement which developing countries have paid for, and that cannot be taken away from us based on certain arbitrary assumptions, including creative interpretations of the basis of G20 membership,” India stated at the General Council meeting of the WTO last week.
To put the country, which has an annual per capita income of about $2,500, in the same development category as the US, with a per capita GDP of more than $70,000, would be “blatantly unfair”, India said.
“However, in complete negation of such repeated assertions, the US has been unilaterally denying S&DT to developing countries even under the existing WTO Agreements,” India said.
New Delhi said that the case-by-case approach being proposed for countries to secure S&DT, which is dependent on providing evidence of the need for it, will soon expand to requesting for and seeking S&DT, product by product and line by line.
“It will be so burdensome and impractical that it will make S&DT for developing countries and LDCs (Least Developed Countries), extinct and a part of history of the WTO,” India said, adding that in future, the US could deny S&DT under the existing WTO rules to other developing countries and even to LDCs using “arbitrary criteria”.
Referring to a USTR report on the WTO Appellate Body last month, India said it was “disappointed” with it as the members have been discussing the reason for the state of the organisation. The USTR report had said that the WTO Appellate Body had continually expanded the scope of issues under review and dragged out the dispute settlement process.
Source : PTI