WTO and India

WTO panel rules against India in IT tariffs dispute


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: World Trade Organization (WTO)

Mains level: Read the attached story


A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel has ruled that India has violated global trading rules in a dispute with the European Union (EU), Japan, and Taiwan over import duties on IT products.

About World Trade Organization (WTO)

Purpose Regulate and facilitate international trade between nations
Establishment 1995
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Membership 164 member countries as of 2023, representing over 98% of global trade
Goal Promote free and fair trade by negotiating and enforcing rules and agreements governing international trade
Agreements Administers a number of agreements, including GATT, SPS Agreement, and TRIPS Agreement
Dispute Resolution Operates a dispute settlement system to resolve conflicts between member countries
Technical Assistance Provides technical assistance and training to help developing countries participate more effectively in international trade
Decision-Making Body Ministerial Conference, which meets every two years
Director-General Chief executive responsible for overseeing the organization’s operations and activities
Criticisms Some criticize the WTO for being undemocratic, favoring developed countries, and not doing enough to promote labor and environmental standards in international trade


What was the case?

  • The case involved a dispute over India’s introduction of import duties ranging from 7.5% to 20% on a wide range of IT products, including mobile phones, components, and integrated circuits.
  • The EU, Japan, and Taiwan challenged these import duties in 2019, arguing that they exceeded the maximum rate allowed under global trading rules.
  • The recent ruling by the WTO panel found that India had violated these rules and recommended that India bring its measures into conformity with its obligations.

WTO Panel’s Ruling

  • The WTO panel has ruled that India violated global trading rules by imposing these import duties.
  • The panel recommended that India bring these measures into conformity with its obligations.
  • While the panel broadly backed the complaints against India, it rejected one of Japan’s claims that India’s customs notification lacked “predictability”.

Implications of the ruling

  • The EU is India’s third-largest trading partner, accounting for 10.8% of total Indian trade in 2021, according to the European Commission.
  • The ruling could have implications for trade relations between India and the EU, as well as Japan and Taiwan.
  • India may be required to lower or eliminate the challenged import duties.
  • It remains to be seen whether India will appeal against the ruling.
  • If it does, the case will sit in legal purgatory since the WTO’s top appeals bench is no longer functioning due to US opposition to judge appointments.


  • The panel recommended that India bring such measures into conformity with its obligations, and it remains to be seen whether India will appeal against the ruling.
  • The case highlights the importance of complying with global trading rules and the role of the WTO in resolving trade disputes between countries.


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