India, US decide to end six long-drawn trade disputes at WTO

India to also remove retaliatory customs duties on 28 US products like almonds and apples
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden at the White House | ANI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden at the White House | ANI

NEW DELHI: India and the US have decided to put an end to six of their long-drawn trade disputes at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday. The trade disputes were resolved during the ongoing visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US.

Out of these six disputes, three were initiated by India and three others by the US. With this development, India will remove retaliatory customs duties on 28 American products like almonds, walnuts and apples. In 2018, the US imposed 25% and 10% import duties on certain steel and aluminium products, respectively, citing national security reasons. In retaliation, India imposed import duties on 28 items from the US. According to Goyal, the termination of these disputes will mutually benefit both countries. 

“We will now have to notify the WTO that we are settling the disputes bilaterally. The WTO will then have to take it on record. But in terms of our understanding, the six issues are closed,” Goyal said.  He also stated that the remaining disputes including that of poultry imports will be settled by the end of this year. 
These tariff cuts will restore and expand market opportunities for U.S. agricultural producers and manufacturers, said Ambassador Katherine Tai, who is the United States Trade Representative.

The disputes filed by India include certain measures relating to solar cells and solar modules; export-related measures and additional duties on certain products from the United States. While the other three disputes that have been filed by the US are countervailing measures on certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products from India; certain measures relating to the renewable energy sector; and certain measures on steel and aluminium products.

A joint statement issued by the US and India stated that the two countries are looking forward to reconvening the India-US Trade Policy Forum before the end of 2023 to further enhance the bilateral trade relationship by addressing trade concerns and identifying further areas for engagement.
As per the joint statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed India’s interest towards being recognized as a Trade Agreements Act- a designated country by the United States to promote trade and investment between two countries.

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