New Delhi: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is likely to agree to a second request from Japan and Taiwan later this month to establish an adjudication panel over India’s customs duties on imports of certain information and communications technology (ICT) products, including mobile phones, taking the dispute up a notch. The Geneva-based organisation had setup a similar panel last month at the EU’s request.
“The requests of Japan and Taiwan are scheduled for later this month at the Dispute Settlement Body. We can’t block their requests anymore,” said an official.
India has blocked their first request last month but can’t do that again, according to the multilateral trade rules.
New Delhi levied 10% customs duty on mobile phones and some other ICT products for the first time in July 2017 and increased it to 15% that year. The duties were further increased to 20% despite opposition from a number of WTO members. The EU, US, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Canada, Japan and Thailand initiated consultations with India on the matter claiming that the move substantially affects them.
If the WTO agrees to the requests, then the three disputes are likely to get combined at the multilateral trade watchdog.
Losing the disputes would make China the main beneficiary as India imported $15.7 billion of electronics, telecom equipment and computer hardware from Beijing in FY20.