DISPUTE SETTLEMENT: DISPUTE DS146

India — Measures Affecting the Automotive Sector


This summary has been prepared by the Secretariat under its own responsibility. The summary is for general information only and is not intended to affect the rights and obligations of Members.

  

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One-page summary of key findings of this dispute
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Current status  back to top

 

Key facts  back to top

Short title:
Complainant:
Respondent:
Third Parties:
Agreements cited:
(as cited in request for consultations)
Request for Consultations received:
Panel Report circulated: 21 December 2001
Appellate Body Report circulated: 19 March 2002

  

Summary of the dispute to date  back to top

The summary below was up-to-date at
See also: One-page summary of key findings of this dispute

Consultations

Complaint by the European Communities.

On 6 October 1998, the EC requested consultations with India concerning certain measures affecting the automotive sector being applied by India. The EC stated that the measures include the documents entitled “Export and Import Policy, 1997-2002”, “ITC (HS Classification) Export and Import Policy 1997-2002” (“Classification”), and “Public Notice No. 60 (PN/97-02) of 12 December 1997, Export and Import Policy April 1997-March 2002”, and any other legislative or administrative provision implemented or consolidated by these policies, as well as MoUs signed by the Indian Government with certain manufacturers of automobiles. The EC contended that:

  • under these measures, imports of complete automobiles and of certain parts and components were subject to a system of non-automatic import licenses.
     
  • in accordance with Public Notice No. 60, import licenses might be granted only to local joint venture manufacturers that had signed an MoU with the Indian Government, whereby they undertook, inter alia, to comply with certain local content and export balancing requirements.
     
  • The EC alleged violations of Articles III and XI of GATT 1994, and Article 2 of the TRIMs Agreement.

On 1 May 1999, the United States requested consultations (WT/DS175) with India in respect of certain Indian measures affecting trade and investment in the motor vehicle sector. The United States contended that the measures in question required manufacturing firms in the motor vehicle sector to:

  1. achieve specified levels of local content;
     
  2. achieve a neutralization of foreign exchange by balancing the value of certain imports with the value of exports of cars and components over a stated period; and
     
  3. limit imports to a value based on the previous year’s exports.

According to the United States, these measures were enforceable under Indian law and rulings, and manufacturing firms in the motor vehicle sector must comply with these requirements in order to obtain Indian import licenses for certain motor vehicle parts and components. The United States considered that these measures violate the obligations of India under Articles III and XI of GATT 1994, and Article 2 of the TRIMS Agreement.

On 15 May 2000, the US requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 19 June 2000, the DSB deferred the establishment of a Panel.

 

Panel and Appellate Body proceedings

Further to a second request to establish a panel by the US, the DSB established a panel at its meeting on 27 July 2000. The EC, Japan and Korea reserved their third-party rights.

On 12 October 2000, the EC also requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 23 October 2000, the DSB deferred the establishment of a Panel. Further to a second request by the EC, the DSB established a panel at its meeting of 17 November 2000. Since a panel had already been established with a similar mandate in the framework of the case WT/DS175, the DSB decided to join the panel with the already established panel in that case pursuant to Article 9.1 of the DSU. Japan reserved its third-party rights. On 14 November 2000, the US requested the Director-General to determine the composition of the Panel. On 24 November 2000, the Panel was composed.

On 21 December 2001, the Panel circulated its report to the Members. The Panel concluded that:

  • India had acted inconsistently with its obligations under Article III:4 of the GATT 1994 by imposing on automotive manufacturers an obligation to use a certain proportion of local parts and components in the manufacture of cars and automotive vehicles (“indigenization” condition);
     
  • India had acted inconsistently with its obligations under Article XI of the GATT 1994 by imposing on automotive manufacturers an obligation to balance any importation of certain kits and components with exports of equivalent value (“trade balancing” condition); and,
     
  • India had acted inconsistently with its obligations under Article III:4 of the GATT 1994 by imposing, in the context of the trade balancing condition, an obligation to offset the amount of any purchases of previously imported restricted kits and components on the Indian market, by exports of equivalent value.

The Panel recommended that the DSB requests India to bring its measures into conformity with its obligations under the WTO Agreements.

On 31 January 2002, India appealed the above Panel Report. In particular, India sought review of the following Panel’s conclusion on the grounds that they are in error and based upon erroneous findings on issues of law and related legal instruments:

  • Articles 11 and 19.1 of the DSU required it to address the question of whether the measures found to be inconsistent with Articles III:4 and XI:1 of the GATT had been brought into conformity with the GATT as a result of measures taken by India during the course of the proceedings, and
     
  • the enforcement of the export obligations that automobile manufacturers incurred until 1 April 2001 under India’s former import licensing scheme is inconsistent with Articles III:4 and XI:1 of the GATT.

On 14 March 2002, India withdrew its appeal. Further to India’s withdrawal of its appeal, the Appellate Body issued a short Report outlining the procedural history of the case. At the DSB meeting on 5 April 2002, the US commended India’s decision to withdraw its appeal and shared some of India’s reservations with regard to Section VIII of the Panel Report. The EC considered that the Panel’s findings were justified. Despite its decision to withdraw its appeal as a result of the introduction of its new auto policy, India indicated that the findings contained in Section VIII were outside of the Panel’s terms of reference and were both factually and legally incorrect. India requested that the DSB adopt only a part of the Panel Report and consider the adoption of Section VIII only at its next meeting. The EC responded that the Reports should be adopted unconditionally by the parties, thus there was no justification for India’s request. The DSB proceeded with the adoption in full of the Appellate Body and Panel reports.

 

Implementation of adopted reports

On 2 May 2002, India informed the DSB that it would need a reasonable period of time to implement the recommendations and rulings of the DSB and that it was ready to enter into discussions with the EC and the US in this regard.

On 18 July 2002, the parties informed the DSB that they had mutually agreed that the reasonable period of time to implement the recommendations and rulings of the DSB, shall be five months, that is from 5 April 2002 to 5 September 2002.

On 6 November 2002, India informed the DSB that it had fully complied with the recommendations of the DSB in this dispute by issuing Public Notice No. 31 on 19 August 2002 terminating the trade balancing requirement. India also informed that earlier it had removed the indigenization requirement vide Public Notice No. 30 on 4 September 2001.

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