08:14 GMT +319 October 2018
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    World Trade Organization (WTO) logo at the entrance of the WTO headquarters in Geneva

    Indian Tariffs Within Bounds Set by WTO - Indian Commerce Ministry

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    While India and the US accuse each other of flouting WTO policies, officials from 24 WTO member countries are meeting in New Delhi for an informal session to discuss this issue and more.

    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.

    READ MORE: 'Strategic Partner' US Knocks on WTO's Door Over India's Trade Policy

    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.

    On the other hand, the US has blamed outdated WTO rules for an allegedly biased tariff structure.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.

    "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.

    "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.

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    mechanism, blockade, tariffs, reform, trade, Roberto Azevedo, Donald Trump, India, United States
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