ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Subsidies and Countervailing

The Seattle ministerial conference in November presents an opportunity for the developing countries to seek a review of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures to ensure that large-scale subsidisation by the rich countries is stopped and small exporters from the developing countries are not subjected to countervailing action

Review of WTO Rules on Antidumping and Countervailing Measures

Under the WTO rules and the corresponding national laws, trade policy administrators view mere price discrimination to be "dumping", which is defined in terms of the difference between the "normal value" and the "export price". The WTO rules authorise antidumping action against injurious dumping affecting domestic industry. The WTO rules also provide for countervailing action against foreign subsidy on exports causing injury to domestic industry. This paper summarises the policy implications derived from an analysis of case studies relating to antidumping and countervailing duty cases against Indian exporters, after examining the scope for review of the relevant WTO rules under the ongoing Doha Round of multilateral negotiations.

Trade Facilitation

The unbundling of the Singapore issues and the jettisoning of all but one, trade facilitation, has led to an 'explicit consensus' to commence negotiations on the issue on the basis of specified 'modalities'. Some of the major concerns of developing country and LDC members seem to have been taken on board, even though many others are yet to be addressed. A useful starting point for the new Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation may be the work of the Boksburg Group in identifying the needs and concerns of a wide cross section of developing countries and its suggestions on the elements of an agreement.

Post-Cancun Talks

The Indian government should speed up the formulation of its response to the changed EU stance on agriculture, services and other issues at the post-Cancun negotiations. This is particularly important in view of the possibility that the various alliance partners in the new government may have diverse positions on the core agenda points.

Simplifying Trade Procedures

Simplification of trade procedures results in substantial gains for the economy. But it cannot be achieved by making ill-thought-out, ad hoc and cosmetic changes. There is an urgent need to create a small organisation at the national level which can take a comprehensive look at all aspects of simplification of trade procedures. It will be useful to look at how other countries have gone about simplifying trade procedures. SITPRO, the UK organisation that deals with simplifying trade procedures, seems to be a good model to study and emulate.

Beyond Cancun: Back to the Basics

The question 'was Cancun necessary?' deserves serious consideration in the context of the future format of negotiations to achieve greater trade liberalisation and take the multilateral trading system forward.

Can Singapore Be a Hong Kong to India?

Can Singapore with its spare investible resources and expertise in building infrastructure act as a window of investment to eastern India as Hong Kong has been to southern China, making the latter a hub of great industrial activity? Much depends on the political leadership in India, at the centre and in the concerned states.

VAT and Service Tax on Imported Goods and Services

The WTO requirement to treat foreign goods and services equally does not disallow imposition of internal taxes on imports to the extent such taxes are imposed on like domestic products and services. Countries that have switched to a system of comprehensive Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services provide for an equal levy on domestic production as well as on imports in their respective VAT legislations.

Money Laundering: New Moves to Combat Terrorism

The Schedule to India's newly-enacted Prevention of Money Laundering Act is marked by some significant omissions. It contains no references to offences relating to tax evasion, smuggling, foreign trade law violations and foreign exchange manipulations on account of these offences. Proceeds of crime relating to these offences, therefore, will remain outside the scope of the new law.

Is Subsidisation before Privatisation WTOCompatible?

The WTO ruling on the complaint filed by the European Union against 12 US countervailing duty orders on exports from previously government-owned steel companies of EU member countries may have implications for state-owned Indian industries about to be privatised.

China's Membership of WTO

In sharp contrast to the perpetual grumbling in India about the WTO and the assertions now and then that India would be better off walking out of the organisation, China is making concerted efforts on all fronts to take the maximum advantage of its entry into the WTO.

Trade Facilitation: A Singapore Issue Knocking at WTO's Door

Trade facilitation is a Singapore issue that has been knocking at WTO's door for quite some time now. It is also an issue that has very wide ramifications and involves numerous stakeholders, its implications not being limited to any particular trade or industry. Trade facilitation on its own needs the attention of all stakeholders irrespective of what stance we ultimately adopt at the WTO negotiations. Therefore, in-depth examination of the issue, which will involve considerable time and detailed study, should be initiated urgently without waiting till we approach the next Ministerial at Mexico. The objective of this paper is to highlight the different aspects of the issue that need to be examined.


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