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India to advocate end of moratorium on customs duty on e-commerce goods at WTO Abu Dhabi meet
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

India to advocate end of moratorium on customs duty on e-commerce goods at WTO Abu Dhabi meet

| @indiablooms | 20 Feb 2024, 09:08 pm

New Delhi: India intends to advocate for the termination of the moratorium on customs duties on e-commerce goods at the upcoming 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Abu Dhabi later this month, media reported citing officials.

India’s stand aligns with its previous position, emphasising that allowing such exemptions tends to disproportionately benefit a select few developed nations, Moneycontrol reported.

India asserts that developing countries are greatly affected by the loss of approximately $10 million in revenue due to the moratorium on customs duties on digital goods.

Scheduled from February 26-29 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, MC13 will convene ministers from various countries to assess the performance of the multilateral trading system and determine future actions for the WTO. The conference, chaired by HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Trade, will address critical issues regarding global trade policies.

It's worth noting that WTO members had collectively agreed to refrain from imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions until the occurrence of MC13.

India’s digital industry is still in the nascent stage and customs duty is essential to protect it as the difference between digital service and products is not clear, the official said, according to the report.

There is no consensus on moratorium, he said, adding that the customs duty is as such applicable only to products.

The proponents of the proposal need to clarify the scope of the moratorium.

Since 1998, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have regularly renewed the moratorium on imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions.

The most recent extension was approved in June 2022 during the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12). Apart from prolonging the moratorium until MC13, WTO members at MC12 also committed to deepening discussions concerning the extent, definition, and consequences of the moratorium.

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