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India to face two WTO dispute panels against import duties on Japan, Taiwan: Report

This is the second instance India is facing a dispute on the issue after the European Union made a similar request to the WTO in June 2020

July 20, 2020 / 11:46 AM IST

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has reportedly set up two dispute settlement panels against India on the request of Taiwan and Japan. The countries had raised an issue against India imposing duties on mobile phones and other information and communication technology (ICT) products imported from them.

The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) is expected to consider second requests for panels made by both countries in its meeting on July 29, an official told The Hindu BusinessLine.

This is the second instance India is facing a dispute on the issue after the European Union made a similar request to the WTO in June 2020. The Indian government had then refused the organisation’s request to deal with all three complaints in a single panel.

“In the DSB meeting last month, India was able to block Japan and Taiwan’s requests as those were first requests made by the countries. This time panels will have to be set up as second requests can’t be blocked,” an official said.

In its request, Japan has pointed out 'unfair tariff treatment' for ICT items by applying duties in excess of the zero percent bound rate as under the IT Agreement. The items include mobile phones, machines for the reception, conversion and transmission or regeneration of voice, images or other data, including switching and routing apparatus; base station; and parts of telephone sets and other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, as per the report.

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Japan has also argued that it was forced to make a second request after consultations held with India in May 2019 were unresolved. It has further asked that a single panel be set up to review all three complaints to “ensure efficient use of resources … particularly given current pandemic circumstances,” as per the report.

Taiwan in its complaints has made similar arguments to Japan, stating that tariffs on ITC items were in excess of the zero percent bound rate and in some cases is as high as 20 percent. It also pointed out the failure to reach a resolution in May 2019 as the reason for seeking the dispute panel.

India on its part has stated disappointment at close trading partner Japan’s request. It said Japan and Taiwan seek for India to “take on commitments under ITA-II which it never agreed to” and “take advantage of an error made by India when transposing its tariff lines to the updated HS.”
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jul 20, 2020 11:46 am

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