Guatemala files complaint over India’s sugar subsidies

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on March 25, 2019 Published on March 25, 2019

Guatemala has initiated a new dispute complaint against India’s sugar subsidies at the World Trade Organization (WTO) just days after Brazil and Australia lodged their separate complaints on the matter.

“Guatemala has requested WTO dispute consultations with India regarding domestic support measures and alleged export subsidies provided by India to producers of sugarcane and sugar. The request was circulated to WTO members on March 25,” according to a WTO official.

Guatemala claims that the domestic support measures are inconsistent with India’s obligations under the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), while the alleged export subsidies are inconsistent with India’s obligations under the AoA and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement).

India will now have to hold separate consultations with Australia, Brazil and Guatemala to listen to their concerns and explain its position.

If the complainants are not satisfied by the explanations, they could ask for the establishment of a dispute settlement panel to decide on the matter.

India had earlier defended its position at the WTO in informal discussions by explaining that most of its subsidies to sugar producers were in the form of production subsidies that was permissible under the WTO.

The subsidies to exporters given for exports was for transportation and marketing purposes which, too, was permitted by the WTO, it had further explained.

Those complaining against the Indian subsidies, however, say that it distorts global markets.

The EU, Thailand and Costa Rica had expressed their interest in participating in the consultations requested by Australia and Brazil with India as they were interested parties.

Published on March 25, 2019

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