WTO Panel recommends India withdraw export subsidies

World Trade Organization

New Delhi/Geneva,  A World Trade Organization Panel has recommended that India withdraw the “prohibited subsidies” on exports within 90-180 days.

The dispute panel was hearing the US complaint about India’s alleged export subsidy measures, and found the export promotion schemes in violation of WTO rules.

These schemes include the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS); Export Oriented Units Scheme and related sector specific schemes (EOU); Special Economic Zones (SEZ); Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme (EPCG); and a duty free imports for exporters programme (DFIS).

According to the USTR, the WTO dispute panel agreed with the US that India provides prohibited subsidies to exporters worth over $7 billion annually.

“… India gives prohibited subsidies to producers of steel products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, information technology products, textiles, and apparel, to the detriment of American workers and manufacturers,” the USTR said in a statement.

A USTR release said that Export subsidies provide an unfair competitive advantage to recipients, and WTO rules expressly prohibit them.

A limited exception to this rule is for specified developing countries that may continue to provide export subsidies temporarily until they reach a defined economic benchmark. India was initially within this group, but it surpassed the benchmark in 2015.

India’s exemption has expired, but India has not withdrawn its export subsidies, the release said.