WTO Current Affairs - 2019

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Darjeeling Green Tea & White Tea receive GI Tag

On November 16, 2019, two tea varieties of Darjeeling were registered under “Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999”. It includes Green Tea and White Tea of Darjeeling.

Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling produces 85 lakh kilograms of tea. Of this Green Tea constitutes 10 lakh kilo grams and White Tea constitutes 1 lakh kilo grams.

GI Tag

The Geographical Indication is used on products that correspond to a specific geographical location. Darjeeling Tea was the first product in India to receive GI tag. The tag helps to get an identity in international market. It will also help to boost the production.

The Geographical Indications are defined by the WTO’s TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement. India enacted the GI of Goods act, 2009 as a member of WTO and as a signatory of TRIPS agreement.

Green Tea

Green Tea is made from same tea leaves. However, it does not undergo the process of withering and oxidation. Though Green Tea originated in China, it is spread all over Asia.

White Tea

White Tea is known as the most delicate tea varieties. This is because it is minimally processed. The leaves are harvested before the leaves open completely.

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.