Member countries including Brazil, EU urge India to submit timely notifications on sugar subsidies in WTO: Media Report

According to an official, a group of WTO member countries, including Brazil, Canada, and the European Union, have urged India to submit timely notifications regarding sugar subsidies to the World Trade Organization, reported PTI.

This issue was discussed during the WTO’s agriculture committee meeting on May 23-24 in Geneva.

As per media report, these countries, all major sugar exporters like India, allege that India’s support measures distort global sugar trade. Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Paraguay, New Zealand, the EU, and Guatemala have urged India to submit timely notifications on the subsidies, the Geneva-based official said. India has clarified that its central and state governments do not purchase sugarcane from farmers; instead, private sugar mills handle all purchases. Therefore, this information was excluded from its domestic support notifications.

This discussion is particularly relevant because, in 2022, India appealed a ruling by the WTO’s trade dispute settlement panel, which found the country’s domestic support measures for sugar and sugarcane to be inconsistent with global trade rules.

India’s appeal was submitted to the WTO’s Appellate Body, which is currently non-functional and serves as the final authority on such disputes.

Brazil, Australia, and Guatemala initially filed the complaints against India regarding these support measures.

In its appeal, India argued that the WTO panel’s findings on domestic schemes to support sugarcane producers and exports were “erroneous” and “completely unacceptable.” Furthermore, the US and Australia issued a joint counter-notification concerning India’s sugar subsidies.

Their study indicated that from 2018-19 to 2021-22, India provided market price support on sugarcane that exceeded the limits set by the Agreement on Agriculture (10% of the total value of sugarcane production) by 92-101%.

They claimed India had not reported any of these subsidies in its notifications since 1995, the official noted.

Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Paraguay, New Zealand, the EU, and Guatemala backed the counter-notification.

Media report states that, India has said it refused to consider the methodology used in the 2018 dispute as the basis for discussion, given that India has appealed the case to the appellate body. Country also questioned why Australia and the US used the Indian rupee for calculations, noting the currency’s significant inflation impact.


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