India may drag Egypt to WTO against levy on cotton yarn

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 25, 2013 Published on January 25, 2013


India is considering filing an official complaint against Egypt at the World Trade Organisation for “wrongful’’ imposition of penal duties on cotton yarn imported from the country.

With Turkey recently withdrawing similar duties on Indian cotton yarn after the country filed a WTO complaint, New Delhi is hoping for a similar outcome with Egypt.

Egypt is the fourth largest market for Indian cotton yarn after China, Bangladesh and South Korea, and the additional duties ranging between 13 per cent and 14 per cent has affected the industry’s competitiveness.

“We realise that the Egyptian economy is going through a low phase. But the country should not be taking so long in removing the safeguard duties as we have pointed out several times in our bilateral discussions that these violate WTO norms. We may take the WTO route if we are left with no other option,” a Commerce Department official told Business Line.

Egypt imposed safeguard duties – a levy to check surge in import of a particular commodity causing disruption in the local market – on cotton yarn from India last July.

India has argued that its cotton yarn imports to Egypt have not surged or disrupted the local market and there is no justification for the safeguard duties.

“Egypt is the fourth largest market for cotton yarn exports from India and it is in our interest to ensure that the safeguard duty is removed at the earliest as there appears to be no economic justification for imposing such a measure,” said Siddhartha Rajagopal, Executive Director, Texprocil.

Turkey had extended a similar duty on cotton textiles from India beyond its expiry date of August 2011 following which India had filed a case against it at the WTO. The case was subsequently withdrawn when Turkey promised to remove the duties by December 2012 which it did.

“We hope Egypt, too, would agree to withdraw the duties and we do not have to fight a full-fledged case at the WTO,” the official said.

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Published on January 25, 2013
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