IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


17th June, 2023 International Relations

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  • India and the European Union (EU) have requested an extension until September 19 to resolve the dispute through bilateral negotiations.


Background of the Dispute:

  • The WTO's dispute panel had previously ruled that India's import duties on certain information and technology products violated global trading norms.
  • The specific details and scope of the disputed import duties were not provided in the given passage.

Request for Extension:

  • Both India and the EU have requested the extension to provide additional time for resolving the dispute through bilateral negotiations.
  • By deferring the adoption of the ruling, they hope to facilitate a mutually acceptable solution.

Importance of Bilateral Resolution:

  • The extension highlights the preference of India and the EU to resolve the dispute directly between the parties involved.
  • Bilateral negotiations offer a more tailored approach to address specific concerns and find common ground.

Objective of the Extension:

  • The additional time until September 19 aims to allow India and the EU to engage in meaningful discussions and negotiations.
  • It provides an opportunity for the parties to explore potential compromises and reach a mutually satisfactory resolution.

Benefits of Facilitating Dispute Resolution:

  • Facilitating the resolution of the dispute through bilateral negotiations can help maintain trade relations and cooperation between India and the EU.
  • It avoids potential trade disruptions and the imposition of retaliatory measures.

About WTO


  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is an international organization that deals with global rules of trade between nations.
  • It provides a forum for member countries to negotiate and settle trade agreements, resolve disputes, and establish trade-related policies.

Role and Objectives:

  • Facilitate international trade: The primary goal of the WTO is to promote and facilitate international trade by reducing trade barriers and ensuring fair and predictable trade relations.
  • Establish rules: The WTO established rules governing trade between nations, including agreements on tariffs, non-tariff barriers, and trade-related intellectual property rights.
  • Provide a platform for negotiations: The WTO provides a platform for member countries to negotiate trade agreements, such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
  • Dispute settlement: The WTO plays a crucial role in resolving trade disputes among member countries through its Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).

Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of WTO

Role and Functions:

  • The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) is a key component of the WTO's dispute settlement system.
  • It is responsible for resolving trade disputes between member countries in a fair and impartial manner.
  • The DSB oversees the entire process, from consultations to the implementation of rulings and recommendations.

Dispute Settlement Process:

  1. Consultations: The dispute settlement process begins with consultations between the parties involved in the dispute. They aim to find a mutually acceptable solution and resolve the matter amicably.
  2. Panel establishment: If consultations fail to resolve the dispute, the complaining party can request the establishment of a panel. The panel consists of independent experts who examine the case and issue a ruling.
  3. Panel's ruling: The panel's ruling identifies whether a violation of WTO rules has occurred and recommends actions to rectify the issue.
  4. Appellate Body: Either party can appeal the panel's ruling to the Appellate Body, which reviews legal issues and provides a final ruling.
  5. Implementation: Once the ruling is final, the DSB oversees the implementation process, ensuring compliance with the rulings and recommendations.
  6. Retaliation: If a member country fails to comply with the ruling, the DSB can authorize the complaining party to impose retaliatory measures, subject to certain conditions.

Importance of the DSB:

  • Ensuring rule-based trade: The DSB plays a crucial role in upholding the principles of rule-based trade and resolving disputes in a fair and impartial manner.
  • Maintaining confidence in the multilateral trading system: The DSB's effectiveness in settling disputes contributes to maintaining confidence in the multilateral trading system and promoting stability in global trade relations.
  • Promoting transparency: The DSB's proceedings are transparent, allowing member countries to observe and learn from past disputes, which contributes to the development of international trade jurisprudence.

About Information Technology Agreement (ITA) 1 and 2

  • The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) is a plurilateral trade agreement negotiated under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • It aims to eliminate tariffs and trade barriers on a wide range of information technology (IT) products among participating countries.

ITA 1:

Negotiation and Implementation:

  • ITA 1 was negotiated and implemented in 1997 by a group of 29 WTO member countries.
  • It covered a list of IT products, including computers, semiconductors, telecommunications equipment, software, and certain electronic components.
  • Participating countries agreed to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade on these products.

Objectives and Benefits:

  • Foster global IT trade: ITA 1 aimed to promote global trade in IT products by eliminating tariffs and reducing trade barriers.
  • Encourage technological innovation: By facilitating the access and affordability of IT products, ITA 1 aimed to encourage technological innovation and adoption in participating countries.
  • Cost reduction for businesses and consumers: Removing tariffs on IT products under ITA 1 helped reduce costs for businesses and made IT products more affordable for consumers.

ITA 2:

Expansion of Coverage:

  • ITA 2, also known as the Expanded Information Technology Agreement, was negotiated in 2015 and implemented in 2016.
  • It expanded the coverage of ITA 1, adding over 200 additional IT products to the list of tariff-free and barrier-free trade.

Benefits and Objectives:

  • Promoting trade in new technologies: ITA 2 aimed to facilitate trade in emerging technologies by eliminating tariffs and trade barriers on products such as touchscreens, GPS devices, medical devices, and video game consoles.
  • Encouraging digital transformation: The expansion of ITA coverage to new technologies supported the digital transformation of industries and economies.
  • Enhancing global competitiveness: ITA 2 aimed to enhance the global competitiveness of participating countries by ensuring access to affordable IT products and fostering innovation in emerging technologies.


  • ITA 1 and 2 have significantly contributed to the growth of global IT trade and the diffusion of IT products worldwide.
  • The agreements have played a crucial role in reducing costs for businesses and consumers, promoting technological innovation, and enhancing global economic integration.
  • ITA 2's expansion of coverage reflects the evolving nature of the IT sector and the need to address new technologies and digital advancements.

Why didn't India sign ITA 2  ?

India's decision not to sign the Information Technology Agreement 2 (ITA 2) can be attributed to several factors. While the specific reasons may vary, the following are some key considerations that influenced India's stance:

  1. Tariff Loss Concerns: India was concerned about the potential loss of tariff revenue that could result from the elimination of tariffs on a wide range of IT products under ITA 2. As a developing country with significant revenue needs, India may have been cautious about the impact of tariff reductions on its domestic industries and fiscal resources.
  2. Safeguarding Domestic Industry: India has a diverse IT industry, including hardware manufacturing and software development sectors. There were apprehensions that liberalizing IT trade under ITA 2 could lead to increased competition and challenges for domestic industries, especially smaller players. India may have sought to protect its domestic market and ensure a level playing field for its industry.
  3. Policy Space for Domestic Manufacturing: India has been emphasizing the importance of boosting domestic manufacturing and promoting its "Make in India" initiative. Signing ITA 2 may have been perceived as limiting India's policy flexibility in promoting domestic production and technology development.
  4. Negotiation Concerns: India might have had concerns about the negotiation process and the scope of ITA 2. The agreement was negotiated by a subset of WTO members, and there may have been reservations about the inclusiveness and representativeness of the negotiations.
  5. Sector-Specific Considerations: Certain segments of India's IT industry, such as hardware manufacturing, may have voiced concerns about the potential adverse impact of ITA 2 on their competitiveness and market share.
  6. Prioritizing National Interest: India's decision not to sign ITA 2 may reflect its approach to prioritize its national interest and carefully assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of joining such agreements. India has often taken a cautious approach to trade liberalization, carefully evaluating the potential impacts on its economy.


Q) Discuss the significance and impact of Information Technology Agreement (ITA) 1 and 2 in promoting global trade in information technology products. (150 words)