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WTO accepts Taiwan, Japan’s request, sets up two new dispute panels in ICT case against India

30th July, 2020 International News


  • The World Trade Organisation has set up two new dispute panels against India on July 29, accepting requests made by Taiwan and Japan.
  • The separate panels come after India refused a request from the WTO to combine all grievances to be addressed by a single panel.
  • All three allege that tariffs imposed by India on imported information and communications technology (ICT) products, infringe on WTO norms.

Countries Arguments:

  • They are against import duties imposed by India on electronic goods such as telephones for cellular networks; machines for reception, conversion and transmission or regeneration of voice, images or other data; and parts of telephone sets.
  • Duties on these products infringe on WTO norms under which India has committed to zero percent bound tariffs.

Indian arguments:

  • India has denied the allegations.
  • It pointed out that the ICT products in question are part of the WTO’s Information Technology Products (ITA-2) agreement, while New Delhi is only part of the ITA-1 pact signed in 1997.
  • India is committed to ITA-1 and abiding by it over the years.

Issue and Future:

  • The issue may take a year to a year-and-a-half to resolve even after the panels are formed; and the COVID-19 pandemic may further slow the process.
  • If the panel rules against India, the country can appeal in the WTO’s appellate body.
  • This body has not functioned since December 2019.

About WTO:

  • Intergovernmental organisation which regulates the international trade
  • Officially commenced on 1st Jan 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement
  • Signed by 123 nations in 1994
  • WTO had replaced GATT (General agreement on tariffs and trade)
  • It deals with agriculture, textiles and clothing, banking, telecommunications, government purchases, industrial standards and product safety, food sanitation regulations, intellectual property and much more.


  • Administering WTO trade agreements
  • Forum for trade negotiations
  • Handling trade disputes
  • Monitoring national trade policies Technical assistance and training for developing countries
  • Cooperation with other international organizations


The basic principles of the WTO (According to the WTO):

  • Trade Without Discrimination:
    • Most Favoured Nation (MFN): treating other people equally
    • National treatment: Treating foreigners and locals equally
  • Freer trade: gradually, through negotiation
  • Predictability: through binding and transparency
  • Promoting fair competition
  • Encouraging development and economic reform.

Reference: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/wto-accepts-taiwan-japans-request-sets-up-two-new-dispute-panels-in-ict-case-against-india-5619891.html