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NEW DELHI : The Indian government has filed an appeal in World Trade Organization's Appellate Body against a ruling on sugar export subsidies stating that New Delhi's domestic support measures for sugar and sugarcane are inconsistent with global trade norms, an official said.

In its appeal, the Indian government has said that the ruling by the trade dispute settlement panel has made certain "erroneous" findings about the domestic schemes to support the sugarcane farmers, exports and the findings of the panel are completely ‘not acceptable to the country, news agency PTI reported.

Ruling in the favour of Brazil, Australia and Guatemala, the WTO panel on Dec 14, 2021 said India's sugar subsidies are inconsistent with WTO trade rules and recommended New Delhi to withdraw the subsidies within 120 days from the adoption of the report.

The official said the trade dispute panel's findings are not only unreasonable and not supported by the WTO rules but also evade key issues which the panel was obliged to determine before the ruling.

The official further said the trade panel's findings on alleged export subsidies undermine logic and rationale.

In 2019, Brazil (the Word's largest producer and exporter of sugar), Australia and Guatemala dragged India into the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism alleging that New Delhi's domestic support measures to the sugarcane producers and sugar export subsidies are inconsistent with global trade rules including various provisions of the WTO's Agreement on Agriculture, Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT).

The three countries had said that India's support measures to sugarcane producers exceed the de minimis level of 10% of the total value of sugarcane production, which according to them was inconsistent with the Agreement on Agriculture.

They had also flagged India's alleged export subsidies, subsidies under the production assistance and buffer stock schemes, and the marketing and transportation scheme.

According to trade experts, if the appellate body also passes a ruling against the support measures, India will have to be abiding by the ruling and make appropriate changes in the way it provides the subsidies.

 

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