WTO to consider setting up panels to probe disputes against India’s sugar subsidies next week


NEW DELHI: The World Trade Organization (WTO) will take a call on July 22 to set up dispute panels to probe India’s subsidies for sugar and sugarcane based on allegations by three countries that New Delhi is breaching its obligations.

Brazil, Australia and Guatemala have requested WTO dispute consultations with India regarding domestic support measures that it provides to its producers of sugarcane and sugar.

They had sought dispute consultations earlier this year, a move that formally initiates a dispute in the WTO. Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation. After 60 days, if consultations have failed to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.


In October last year, Australia had raised concerns on India’s sugar subsidy dole out and asked how the host of financial assistance measures announced this year are within India’s domestic support entitlements. It has also asked India how it intends to dispose of the three million tonnes buffer stock to ensure no impact on the global sugar market.

India has announced a slew of measures from doubling import duty, scrapping export duty and two financial packages comprising creation of a buffer stock and offering soft loans to bail out its cash-starved sugar mills and cane farmers in the last one year.

In March, Australia was joined by Brazil and Guatemala to lodge a formal complaint against India that its subsidies have led to a “glut” and “depressed” global prices.

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