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Business News/ Economy / India seeks review of custom duties moratorium on e-comm at WTO
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India seeks review of custom duties moratorium on e-comm at WTO

The moratorium prevents countries from imposing import duties on digital products and services.

Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal with World Trade Organisation Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, in Abu Dhabi. PTI Photo (PTI)Premium
Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal with World Trade Organisation Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, in Abu Dhabi. PTI Photo (PTI)

India on Thursday sought the reconsideration of the moratorium on customs duties on e-commerce, particularly for the developing countries and the least developed countries (LDCs) at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

At the WTO's ongoing 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, India stressed the need for digital industrialization as an emerging segment of the global economy due to its potential to play a key role in the economic development and prosperity of developing countries, working LDCs. 

"At the WTO, India advocated for digital public infrastructure (DPI) for development, disciplining unfair competition and consumer protection,"   the commerce ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

E-commerce is a major issue discussed at the MC13, which includes the extension of the WTO’s moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions.

The moratorium prevents countries from imposing import duties on digital products and services. 

WTO members have periodically agreed to extend the moratorium on the imposition of customs duties on electronic transmissions, with the last extension agreed in June 2022 at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva. 

India and South Africa are not in support of extending a moratorium on customs duty on electronically transmitted products, a move that has been pushed by developed economies. 

"India wants all policy options should be available for the WTO members to pursue for promoting digital industrialization," the commerce ministry added.

On Wednesday, WTO's director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala asked member countries to work together to make digital trade inclusive.

Digital trade refers to the production, distribution, marketing, sale or delivery of goods and services by electronic means.

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Published: 29 Feb 2024, 09:01 PM IST
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