The Hindu Business Line

EU drags India to WTO over import duties on ICT products

- BLOOMBERG

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday said it has dragged India into WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism over imposition of import duties on certain ICT product, including mobile phones, alleging breach of global trade norms.

The EU is challengin­g the introducti­on of import duties on a wide range of ICT products, for instance mobile phones and components, base stations, integrated circuits and optical instrument­s, it said in a statement.

It has requested consultati­ons with the Indian government under WTO rules governing the settlement of disputes with regard to the tariff treatment that the country accords to certain goods in the informatio­n and communicat­ions technology sector.

“Despite its (India) earlier legally binding commitment in the WTO not to charge any duties on these products, India has been applying duties ranging The EU has requested consultati­ons with the Indian government under WTO rules governing the settlement of disputes

from 7.5 per cent to 20 per cent. The import duties are, therefore, in clear breach by India of WTO rules. The levies affect EU exports worth € 600 million per year,” the EU said.

There is a significan­t economic interest and important legal principles at stake for the EU, it said.

Commission­er for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom said that India must abide by its own commitment to allow duty free trade in ICT products.

“Technologi­cal innovation keeps our companies competitiv­e in the global market and supports hundreds of thousands

of high value jobs across Europe,” she said.

In October last year, India hiked import duty on certain communicat­ion items, including base stations, to up to 20 per cent as part of efforts to check a widening current account deficit by curbing imports.

Seeking consultati­on is the first step of dispute settlement process as per WTO rules.

If the consultati­ons requested with both India do not result in a satisfacto­ry solution, the EU can request that the WTO set up a panel in the case to rule on the issue raised.

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