TRADE UPDATE #25

Fresh Woe at The WTO

17/05/2019

India’s troubles at the WTO refuse to go away. Even as the country faces challenges at the international trade body from the US and the EU, a fresh complaint has been lodged against India -- this time by Japan. The Eastern nation is accusing India of “continuously and systematically’ raising import duties on certain electronic items, in excess of the prescribed import duty ceiling. Japan seeks consultation with India under the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism and is yet another international trade problem for next week’s fresh government to grapple with.

The US, on the other hand, has agreed to give India a breather, extending GSP trade benefits to India until the new government is formed. The decision will be a big relief for Indian exporters, even as fresh trade data from the RBI showed a very marginal 0.64% growth in exports in March. As the country waits with bated breath for the outcome of the General Elections, exporters will also take some solace from the news that GST refunds will likely be automated from June, resolving a major pain point for shippers suffering because of a credit crunch and stuck working capital.


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Japan drags India to WTO over import duties on certain electronic goods

Japan has dragged India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over import duties imposed on certain electronic goods, according to the global trade body. Japan has accused India of “continuously and systematically” raising import duties on these goods after the announcement of the ‘Make in India’ campaign in September 2014, according to a communication released by the WTO on 14th May. It has also alleged that these import duties are in excess of bound rates, which is a ceiling of import duty beyond which a WTO member country cannot go.


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

US extends duty benefits on Indian exports until next govt is formed

The US has finally agreed to extend trade benefits to India under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme till the formation of a new government in New Delhi and finalisation of a new trade package with it, sources have told ThePrint. The decision to not withdraw the GSP benefits from India was informed by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) over the weekend. The deadline to withdraw the GSP benefits was 4th May.


POLICY

Automated GST refund for Indian exporters likely from June

Exporters of goods and services and suppliers to units in special economic zones (SEZs) in India are reportedly expected to get goods and services tax (GST) refunds automatically from June with plans for faceless scrutiny of refunds and faster claim settlement. Automatic refund is available now only for exporters who have paid integrated goods and services tax (IGST). Under GST, every person making a claim of refund on account of ‘zero-rated’ supplies has two options.


INDUSTRY

India's services exports rise 6.6% to $17.94 bn in March

India’s services exports rose by 6.6% to US$17.94 billion in March, according to the data released by the Reserve Bank on 15th May. Services imports in March too grew by 10.55% to US$11.37 billion. The trade balance in services for the month under review is estimated at US$6.58 billion. The data comes with a lag of 45 days. It is also provisional and undergoes revision when the Balance of Payments (BoP) data is released on a quarterly basis.


INDUSTRY

SME listings nearing 500-mark

The BSE SME Exchange platform is close to hosting 300 small and medium enterprises on its SME platform, with the 298th company, Evans Electric, getting listed on 13th May. In total, close to 500 SME companies have gotten listed on the BSE and NSE since the market regulator came out with detailed listing guidelines for SMEs in May 2010. The NSE’s Emerge platform for listing SME companies has 198 companies listed on it since 2012 when SMEs started getting listed on the bourses.


OTHER NEWS

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