WTO June meet: India not likely to create a hurdle on e-com moratorium | Daily News

WTO June meet: India not likely to create a hurdle on e-com moratorium

In 1998, WTO members agreed not to impose Customs duties on electronic transmissions and the moratorium has been periodically extended at successive ministerial conferences.
In 1998, WTO members agreed not to impose Customs duties on electronic transmissions and the moratorium has been periodically extended at successive ministerial conferences.

India may not create a big issue out of the proposed extension of the moratorium on Customs duty on electronic transmissions at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) crucial meeting scheduled from June 12. At present, under the WTO moratorium, countries do not impose Customs duty on cross-border e-commerce transactions.

The WTO members had agreed not to impose customs duties on electronic transmissions since 1998 and the moratorium has been periodically extended at successive ministerial conferences (MC), which the highest decision is making body of the 164-member organisation.

“At the 12th MC next month, many WTO members are seeking temporary extension of the moratorium till 13th MC but India does not want this time to continue this further. India will take a hard stand this time on the matter,” the official said.

India and South Africa on several occasions have asked the organisation to revisit the issue and have highlighted the adverse impact of the moratorium on developing countries.

In a joint communication submitted to the WTO earlier, both the countries had stated that all the issues on the e-commerce moratorium need to be revisited with ‘the utmost urgency and in its entirety’.

According to earlier communication from these two countries, the potential tariff revenue loss to developing countries is estimated at $10 billion annually.

India is witnessing an exponential rise in imports of electronic transmissions, mainly of items like movies, music, video games and printed matter, some of which could fall within the scope of the moratorium.

While the profits and revenues of digital players are rising steadily, the ability of governments to check these imports and generate additional tariff revenues is being ‘severely’ limited because of the moratorium on e-commerce.

(www.business-standard.com)


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