Japan has expressed its disappointment with India for appealing a WTO panel ruling against its import tariffs on select ICT products, including mobile phones, and urged the country to take back the decision at a Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting on Tuesday.
“Japan said it was disappointed that by appealing the ruling against its import duties on ICT products, India had sent the case into a void because the Appellate Body, which has to now look into the matter, is not functioning. It asked India to revoke the decision,”a Geneva-based trade official told businessline.
The DSB also agreed to a request from Chinese Taipei (which had also got a favourable panel ruling on a similar but separate case filed against India) and India for additional time for the DSB to consider adoption of the panel ruling. “India and Chinese Taipei want more time to resolve the dispute between them. They said the additional time would help them sort matters out,” the official said.
Last month, in three separate disputes filed by the EU, Japan and Chinese Taipei, against India’s import duties on certain ICT products, the dispute settlement panel of the WTO had ruled that the duties violated its commitment under the Information Technology (IT) Act.
“We recommend India bring such measures into conformity with its obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994,” the panel ruled.
Last week, India appealed against the decision of the panel to the WTO’s Appellate Body. India may now get a long reprieve as the body is at present dysfunctional since the US has been holding up the appointment of judges.
While India is supposed to impose zero tariff on a number of ICT items under the IT Agreement, it holds that the items on which it has imposed duties are not covered under the pact and the complainants were trying to take advantage of a technical error made by the country while updating its tariff lines.