New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian government has categorically denied charges leveled by the United States at the World Trade Organization (WTO) claiming that tariffs for different commodities fixed by India are within the rules set by the global regulator. The statement by India's Ministry of Commerce & Industry comes against the backdrop of trade measures taken by US President Donald Trump against India and China last week.
Last week Washington took one of the biggest trade steps against India by dragging New Delhi before the WTO over export incentive programs. The Trump administration also imposed a punitive import duty of 25 percent and 10 percent on steel and aluminum respectively — a step strongly opposed by India.
"The US regularly raises the issue regarding the reduction of Indian tariffs rates. Nevertheless, it is to mention that India is a member of WTO and is bound by the commitments made at WTO. Indian tariffs are within the bound rate committed by India. Increase or decrease in the tariff of a particular commodity depends on several factors which include protection of domestic industry and farmers," C. R. Chaudhary, India's Minister of State for Commerce & Industry said on Monday.
Looking forward to welcoming dignitaries at the Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting.I sincerely hope that the Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting will steer WTO to ensure its vitality and relevance. #WTOdelhi2018 pic.twitter.com/Pp2hahsldj— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) March 19, 2018
On the other hand, the US has blamed outdated WTO rules for an allegedly biased tariff structure. The US has demanded reform in the functioning of the WTO to meet the changed circumstances. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo, participating in an informal mini-ministerial meeting of the members of the WTO in New Delhi, said that the US wants some upgrades in the rules and functioning of the trade body, which was set up in 1995. Azevedo, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the two-day informal meeting of 50 WTO members on Monday, also termed the present trade environment very risky.
Expectations to have an open & honest conversation says WTO DG in Delhi on the informal meeting happening in Delhi pic.twitter.com/MpVxltW63d— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) March 19, 2018
"We are facing many challenges in the WTO and outside. Trade environment globally is very risky at this point of time. We will try to have an open and honest conversation at the informal WTO meeting here," Azevedo said.
Although the United States is not participating in the two-day meeting in New Delhi, the Indian representatives are expected to discuss the issue at length.
India is now moving WTO against US move to raise import tariffs on steel and aluminium.If so why did Modi concede Trump's demand to reduce import duty on Harley Davidson by 25℅? You concede bilaterally & don't get anything in return. Then move WTO!— M K Venu (@mkvenu1) March 19, 2018
"We have very significant challenges before us. We have the dispute settlement system compromised by a blockage in the appointment of appellate members and this will be the focus of conversations in New Delhi," Azevedo added.
India's commerce ministry has also stated that the meeting will provide an opportunity to engage in free and frank discussions with the hope that it will lead to political guidance on some major issues at the ministerial meeting in Geneva.