New Delhi: The decision of India and the US to end their six trade disputes at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will help boost two-way commerce and strengthen economic ties, experts said.
They also said that both the countries should put in place a proper and strong mechanism to resolve trade related issues bilaterally so that they do not have to file complaints in the WTO.
India and the US have agreed to end six trade disputes at the World Trade Organisation while New Delhi will also remove retaliatory customs duties on 28 American products such as almonds, walnuts, and apples.
India and the US have agreed to end six trade disputes at the World Trade Organization while New Delhi will also remove retaliatory customs duties on certain American products such as almonds, walnuts, and apples.
A joint statement issued after the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in Washington said the two leaders welcomed the resolution of six outstanding WTO disputes through mutually agreed solutions.
“It is a big victory for India and is a mutually beneficial arrangement for both countries,” Goyal told reporters here.
He said, now there are no pending India-US disputes at WTO.
On the poultry case, he said both sides are discussing it and will find a solution by end of this year.
“So, India and the US by the end of this year will have no disputes. All the six major ones have gone,” the minister said adding “for the first time bilaterally we are ending the disputes.”
In 2015, India lost a long-pending dispute over poultry imports from the US at WTO’s dispute settlement body. India had 12 months to comply with the WTO order. The US had sought trade sanctions against India in this case.
Goyal informed the reporters that US Trade Representative Katherine Tai will be coming to India by end of this year for next TPF meet.
“Before that, we will be in a position to solve that (poultry case) also,” he added.
Talking about the six trade disputes, he said it’s a “package deal”. The six disputes include three initiated by India and as many by the US.
In 2018, the US imposed 25 per cent and 10 per cent import duties on certain steel and aluminium products, respectively, on grounds of national security. In retaliation, India in June 2019 imposed customs duties on 28 American products, including chickpeas, lentils, almonds, walnuts, apples, boric acid, and diagnostic reagents. India had also filed a complaint against the US in WTO on imposing these duties.
On the steel and aluminium case, there were requests by Indian players to exclude certain products from the high duty list.
On this, the US has given “us an assurance that at least 70 per cent of all such requests of steel, and 80 per cent of all such requests for aluminium applications for products originating in India will be excluded from the additional process of Section 232 (of a US law)”.
In 2018, then US President Donald Trump had imposed these duties using Section 232 of an act that permits the president to restrict imports.
The six disputes include countervailing measures on certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India, certain measures relating to solar cells and modules, measures relating to the renewable energy sector, export-related measures, certain measures on steel and aluminium products, and additional duties on some products from the US.
According to trade experts, both countries can resolve the disputes on mutually agreed terms and later inform the Geneva-based WTO about the same.
On April 12, 2012, India requested consultations with the United States with regard to the imposition of countervailing duties by the US on certain hot rolled carbon steel flat products from India. New Delhi had claimed that the countervailing duty investigation and related measures are inconsistent with WTO trade norms.
On February 6, 2013, the US requested consultations with India concerning certain measures of India relating to domestic content requirements under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission for solar cells and solar modules. America claimed that the measures appear to be inconsistent with global trade provisions.
Similarly, on September 9, 2016, India requested consultations under the aegis of the WTO with the US regarding certain measures of the US relating to domestic content requirements and subsidies instituted by the governments of the states of Washington, California, Montana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Delaware and Minnesota, in the energy sector.
On March 14, 2018, the US asked for consultations with India concerning certain alleged export subsidy measures of New Delhi under Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), Export Oriented Units (EOU), Electronics Hardware Technology Parks (EHTP), Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG). The WTO dispute panel ruled against India, and New Delhi in 2019 appealed against the ruling at the appellate body.
On May 18, 2018, India requested consultations with the US concerning certain measures imposed by America to allegedly adjust imports of steel and aluminium into the US. India had claimed that these measures appear to be inconsistent with the WTO rules.
Similarly on July 3, 2019, the US asked for consultations under the WTO dispute settlement mechanism with India regarding India’s imposition of additional duties with respect to certain products originating in the US.
The US is the largest trading partner of India. In 2022-23, the bilateral goods trade increased to USD 128.8 billion as against USD 119.5 billion in 2021-22.