EUROPE: EU suspends India WTO panel
The EU has suspended its WTO panel against India, following India's repeal of discriminatory duties on EU wines and spirits earlier this month.
The Indian decision follows a European Commission Trade Barriers Investigation that attacked the Indian duties and an EU challenge to the Indian measures at the WTO. "The removal of the discriminatory duties is good news for European spirit and wine makers, who have been badly disadvantaged by Indian measures for many years," the EU said.
"The EU welcomes the Indian decision to respond to EU pressure by repealing these discriminatory duties," said EU spokesman for trade Peter Power. "EU wines and spirits exporters deserve a level playing field in India. This decision brings us closer to that goal."
However, the EU attacked the Indian decision to raise external duties on wines by 50% to 150%.
The commission said it will continue to "monitor the situation on the ground", to make sure that no new discriminations appear at state level.
When contacted by just-drinks today (16 July) a spokesperson for the Scotch Whisky Association welcomed the suspension. "The SWA supports the EU's decision to suspend the WTO panel following India's decision to withdraw the discriminatory Additional Duty on imported spirits," the spokesperson said. "With the European Commission, we will be closely monitoring how the individual states ensure non-discriminatory tax treatment between imported and domestic spirits in line with WTO rules."
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