WTO sets up panel to rule on complaints against India’s sugar subsidies

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Brazil, Australia and Guatemala have got the green signals for setting dispute panels against India’s sugar subsidies. On August 15, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) disputed settlement body agreed to the three countries’ request.

Last month, India had blocked their first request for setting up of panels, following which the second request was made. As per the norms, the second request can not be blocked.

The rival countries allege India’s sugar subsidies are inconsistent with the WTO obligations and distorting the sugar market. Also, they claim it aids in building a global sugar surplus, which is ultimately affecting the farmers and millers of their respective countries.

The Indian sugar industry is suffering from various hurdles from last two to three years, and to bring the sector out of the crisis, the government had introduced various measures like soft loan scheme, hike in minimum selling price, scrapping of export duty, 100 per cent rise in import duty, and others.

As per reports, the government is mulling over formulating new sugar export policy to reduce surplus and address the concerns of the beleaguered sugar industry. And by without infringing WTO rules, India can tweak its sugar export subsidies.

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