(MENAFN - KNN India) Five more countries seek DSB's permission to join India-EU talks on import duties on certain ICT products
New Delhi, Apr 25 (KNN) Five countries - Canada, the US, Thailand, Singapore and Chinese Taipei- have expressed interest along with the European Union (EU) to in a case filed by the EU against India's import duties on certain information and communication technology (ICT) products like mobile phones, cameras and other products in sector.
The move is likely to put more pressure on India at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to roll back import duty.
These five countries have sought permission of the dispute settlement body (DSB) to join the consultations the EU has initiated with New Delhi on the matter.
India levied customs duty on mobile phones and some other ICT items at 10 per cent for the first time in July 2017 and later increased it to 15 per cent that year. Despite protests from a number of WTO members, customs duties on mobiles were further increased to 20 per cent in last year's Budget.
In October 2018, India increased the basic customs duty on telecom equipment and imposed duties on printed circuit boards used to make the equipment and several other telecom products.
New Delhi has so far argued that most of the items identified by the EU and others were not covered under the ITA as these did not exist in 1996 and the tariff lines were not included in the pact.
In its request for consultations filed with the DSB earlier this month, the EU alleged that India applied duties on a number of ICT products in excess of the rates it has committed to at the WTO. These items included telephone sets, including telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks, transmission apparatus for radio-broadcasting or television, television cameras, digital cameras and video camera recorders and microphones, loudspeakers, headphones and earphones, among others.
The EU pointed out that as per India's schedule of commitments at the WTO (under the Information Technology Agreement of 1996), New Delhi was supposed to apply zero per cent import duties on the identified items. 'The levies affect EU exports worth €600 million per year, the EU said.
The complainants, however, are not satisfied with the argument. If the consultations between India and the EU do not reach a conclusion, the EU may ask for a panel to settle the dispute. (KNN Bureau)