Taiwan takes India to WTO over imposition of safeguard duty

Taiwan has sought consultations with India under the WTO’s safeguard agreement against New Delhi’s decision to impose import duty on solar cells, the global trade body said. The consultations, however, do not fall under WTO’s dispute settlement system.

India had imposed safeguard duty of up to 25 per cent on solar cells imports from China and Malaysia for two years to protect domestic players from steep rise in inbound shipments. Taiwan says it has a substantial interest as an exporter of the product.

The objective of the consultation is to “exchange views on the proposed measures and reaching an understanding on ways to achieve the objectives” set out in an article of the WTO Agreement on Safeguards, the WTO said in a communication.

Taiwan seeks to hold consultations “as soon as possible and looks forward to India’s positive response to this request,” it added.

According to an expert, seeking consultations under the safeguard agreement is a way to inform other countries that they are not fulfilling their commitments under the WTO rules.

Solar cells — electrical devices that convert sunlight directly into electricity — are imported primarily from China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Imports of solar cells from Malaysia and China account for more than 90 per cent of the total inbound shipments in the country.