India Formally Appeals Against WTO Panel Report On Tech Tariffs; Case To Go Into Limbo
India has cited alleged errors of law and legal interpretation by the panel in its report.
India has formally filed an appeal in response to the World Trade Organisation Dispute Settlement Body's report on technology tariffs.
India has cited alleged errors of law and legal interpretation by the panel in its report, according to a WTO circular that notified the appeal on Thursday.
Earlier in April, three WTO panels ruled against India on the technology tariff disputes initiated by the European Union, Japan, and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). India's current appeal corresponds to the panel report concerning the ongoing trade dispute with Japan.
In all three cases, the body has come to the conclusion that India's import duties on certain information and communication items were inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade of 1994, which calls for a zero-duty rate on certain information technology products.
Japan in particular alleged that India's duties on feature phones, smartphones, base stations for cellular mobile phones, and digital microwave communication equipment were raised from 0% to 20%.
It was further alleged that the rates on printed circuit board assemblies were raised from 0% to 10%, and those on LCD modules for smartphones were raised from 0% to 15%.
Soon after the panel's report, BQ learned that India would be filing a formal appeal to the appellate authority and that India's response was likely to be filed towards the end of May.
Case Goes Into A Void
The case, however, is unlikely to see a decision in the near future. An appeal to a dispute settlement panel's report would be placed before a WTO appellate body, which is the apex authority on the matter.
However, the appellate body is presently defunct as the appointment of new judges has seen some resistance from countries like the United States, which has cited reasons for judicial overreach.
The lack of an adjudicating body puts appeals regarding trade disputes in limbo, leaving the issues unresolved until such an appellate body is constituted. While there are currently no members of the appellate body, the act of filing the appeal marks India's rebuttal of the WTO panel's report.
In these exceptional circumstances, and in the interests of fairness and orderly procedure in the conduct of the appeal, in accordance with Rule 16(1) and (2) of the Working Procedures for Appellate Review, India will await further instructions from the division, when it may eventually be composed, or the Appellate Body, regarding any further steps to be taken by India in this appeal absent which, this document is deemed to also be India's appellant submission.WTO Notification on India's Appeal