India-WTO Current Affairs - 2020

India-Brazil ink 15 agreements during Brazil President’s visit on Republic Day

The President of Brazil, Mr Jair Bolsonaro visited India to take part in Republic Day celebrations. During his visit, the countries signed several agreements. Alongside, the fifth session of India-Brazil Trade monitoring mechanism was also held. President Bolsonaro was accompanied by a huge business delegation. They will hold several meetings with their Indian counterparts during the India-Brazil Business Forum that is to be held in 27, January, 2020.

Highlights

The countries signed agreements on trade, cyber security, information technology. The countries have set target to increase bilateral trade to 15 billion USD by 2022.

Outcomes

Animal Husbandry is the new area over which the countries have identified potential cooperation. This is mainly due to the common genetic heritage between the countries.

Concerns

The countries agreed to address the issue of sugarcane bilaterally. The issue was raised by Brazil at WTO complaining India is extending support to local sugarcane growers. According to WTO, Most Favoured Nation status should be awarded by the members to every other member. This will exclude special tariff and also exclude restriction on imports and exports helping to increase trade globally.

WTO Panel rejects India’s claims on Steel issues with the US

The World Trade Organization panel on November 15, 2019, rejected several claims of India against US on steel duties. India earlier complained to the organization that the United States is breaching international trade rules in 14 areas. Following which, WTO had faulted US decision over imposition of countervailing duties on steel products from India. However, US failed to stick to the norms demanding more access to Indian markets.

Background of the issue

In 2012, India filed the first complaint against US at the WTO. The complaint was that Washington is imposing tariffs on nearly 300% imports that included steel, carbon-quality steel, etc. Later in 2014, the global body ruled that the duties imposed by the US were a breach of global trade rules. When US failed to comply the ruling, India took it to the WTO again.

WTO set a Dispute Settlement Body to sort out the issue. The Body has now rejected several charges filed by India against US duties

Effect on Trade

Because of the duty imposed by the US, India’s steel export to the US declined by 49% in 2018. The export of steel from India that was 372 million USD in 2012 declined to 221 million USD.