DS: India — Quantitative Restrictions on Imports of Agricultural, Textile and Industrial Products
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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Summary of the dispute to date
The summary below was up-to-date at
Complaint by the United States.
On 15 July 1997, the US requested consultations with India in respect of quantitative restrictions maintained by India on importation of a large number of agricultural, textile and industrial products. The US contended that these quantitative restrictions, including the more than 2,700 agricultural and industrial product tariff lines notified to the WTO, are inconsistent with India’s obligations under Articles XI:1 and XVIII:11 of GATT 1994, Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture, and Article 3 of the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures.
On 3 October 1997, the US requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 16 October 1997, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.
Panel and Appellate Body proceedings
Further to a second request to establish a panel, the DSB established a panel at its meeting on 18 November 1997. On 10 February 1998, the US requested the Director-General to determine the composition of the Panel. On 20 February 1998, the Panel was composed. The report of the Panel was circulated to Members on 6 April 1999. The panel found that the measures at issue were inconsistent with India’s obligations under Articles XI and XVIII11 of GATT 1994, and to the extent that the measures apply to products subject to the Agreement on Agriculture, are inconsistent with Article 4.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture. The panel also found the measures to be nullifying or impairing benefits accruing to the United States under GATT 1994, and the Agreement on Agriculture.
On 26 May 1999, India notified its intention to appeal certain issues of law and legal interpretations developed by the Panel. The report of the Appellate Body was circulated to Members on 23 August 1999. The Appellate Body upheld all of the findings of the panel that were appealed from.
The DSB adopted the Panel and Appellate Body reports at its meeting on 22 September 1999.
Implementation of adopted reports
At the DSB meeting of 14 October 1999, India stated its intention to comply with the recommendations and rulings of the DSB, at the same time drawing attention to the Panel’s suggestion that the reasonable period of time for implementation in this case could be longer than 15 months in view of the practice of the IMF, the BOP Committee and GATT and WTO panels of granting longer phase-out periods for the elimination of BOP restrictions, and in view of India’s status as a developing country Member.
On 28 December 1999, the parties informed the DSB that they had reached an agreement on the reasonable period of time for India to comply with the recommendations and rulings of the DSB. The reasonable period of time was to expire on 1 April 2000, except for some tariff items to be notified by India to the US for which the reasonable period of time was to expire on 1 April 2001. Pursuant to the agreement reached, India had to treat the US no less favourably than any other Member with respect to the elimination of or modification of quantitative restrictions affecting any product covered by the agreement.
At the DSB meeting of 27 July 2000, India stated that it had notified to the United States those tariff items for which the reasonable period is to expire on 1 April 2001 and that for all other items India had implemented the recommendation of the DSB by 1 April 2000. At the DSB meeting of 5 April 2001, India announced that, with effect from 1 April 2001, it had removed the quantitative restrictions on imports in respect of the remaining 715 items and had thus implemented the DSB’s recommendations in this case. The United States welcomed India’s action and said that it had some specific questions to ask India in the next few days.
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