The Government today said it is concerned about the imposition of additional duties by the US on items from India and has moved the WTO Appellate disputes settlement committee which will hear both sides on July 19 and 20.
Replying to supplementaries in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C R Chaudhary said India as a retaliatory action to the US has also slapped additional duties of 10 to 20 per cent on as many as 29 items which would come into force on August 4.
The minister said the US has imposed 25 per cent additional duty on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium from India. He said such duties have been imposed not just on items from India but also from China, Japan, EU, Canada and Mexico.
"We have moved on June 20 before the disputes settlement committee, which is an appellate body, and said it is discriminatory. The hearing on this is on July 19 and 20 before the authority. The Appellate authority will hear both India and USA on this issue," he said.
Chaudhary said India has talked about multilateralism and called for ending protectionism at various forums.
"India has also imposed 10 to 20 per cent additional duties on 29 items which will be enforced from August 4. In retaliation, we have also imposed additional duties on 29 items which originated from the USA and are imported into India. The Government is very much concerned about this problem," he told the members.
The minister also talked about the problems that have arisen in WTO due to some "unilateral decisions" taken by some countries.
"Nowadays, some problems have arisen due to unilateral decisions and it is trying to distort the multilateral system in WTO and that is being raised at various formal and informal gatherings," he said, adding that all BRICS nations have agreed that developed countries should not adopt the policy of protectionism.
He said there are 167 members in the WTO, of which 117 are developing nations and the remaining ones are developed nations.
He said it is not that developed countries are imposing themselves on developing nations and all members have equal rights and every country follows the rules.
In his written reply, Chaudhary said many members have from time to time expressed concern over challenges being faced by the organisation in upholding and promoting principles of multilateralism and non-discrimination.
"The challenges include the current impasse in appointing members to existing vacancies in the Appellate body of WTO," he said.
The minister also said some members are questioning the principles of special and differential treatment provisions for developing countries and LDCs which are an integral part of the WTO agreements and questionable unilateral trade measures and resulting counter measures which lead to a trade war and undermine the cardinal principles and credibility of the WTO's rules-based system.
"Many countries including India have brought proposals to address the impasse in appointment of members to the Appellate body," he said.
The minister also referred to objections raised by some developed countries on stockpiling of foodgrains, but said the procurement done by India is a must as it is to feed the poor.
The developed countries claim that stockpiling of food grains affect pricing of food products internationally, but developing countries say procurement of food grains by the government is a must to help the poor.
"India had clearly stated that stockpiling through public procurement is essential as the majority of population is below poverty line and we are providing highly subsidised food grains to 81 crore people in the country and this is a must," he said.
Replying to another supplementary, he said India wants that pending issues be first resolved and then take up other contentious issues. "India wants that long-pending issues be resolved first.
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