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India not obliged to accept WTO’s report on export schemes: Govt

Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Piyush Goyal said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha that India is not obliged to implement recommendations the World Trade Organization’s dispute panel has made about its export promotion schemes. The panel, in its October 31, 2019 report ruled that India’s export-related schemes (including for special economic zones or SEZ) are in the nature of prohibited subsidies under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and are inconsistent with WTO norms. The country had appealed at the WTO’s appellate body after it was given 180 days to withdraw the SEZ scheme.

“Due to non-functioning of appellate body (of the WTO’s dispute settle mechanism), the appeal has been kept in suspension. Till the appeal is disposed of, India is under no obligation to implement the recommendations of panel,” the minister stated.

He also informed the Lower House that India is involved in 15 disputes at the WTO, mostly against the US. India has  appealed WTO against countervailing duty by the US on Indian steel products; measures by America concerning non-immigrant visas; renewable energy programmes of the US; and import duties imposed on steel and aluminium products by America.