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Tags Current Affairs

USTR list and India

Date: 15 February 2020 Tags: India & World

Issue

The office of the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) has updated its list of developing and least-developed countries, removing India from the list of countries that are designated as developing.

 

Background

Countries under this list are eligible for preferential treatment when it comes to CVD investigations. Other countries that were removed from the list include Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia.

 

Details

USTR list of developing and least-developed countries

  • In the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), the US Congress had amended the CVD law in order to confirm US obligations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM).

  • Under this SCM agreement, countries that had not yet reached the status of a developed country were entitled to special treatment for purposes of countervailing measures.

  • This meant that imports from the member countries included in the list by USTR were subject to different thresholds for determining if countervailing subsidies are “de minimis” (too trivial or minor to merit consideration) and whether import volumes are negligible.

  • USTR is also required to publish this list of designations and update it if necessary in the Federal Register. 

Implications on India

  • The lists USTR had prepared as per the 1998 rule helped it to determine if they were eligible for preferential treatment against CVD investigations or not.

  • The USTR has revised the lists in the 1998 rule and removed the rule itself terming it “obsolete”. Further, for the purposes of the de minimis threshold, there will be no distinction between developing and least-developed countries, since both such countries will be subject to the same threshold.

  • Until February 10, 2020, India was on the USTR’s list of developing countries, making it eligible for preferential treatment against CVD investigations and de minimis thresholds. It will no longer get this benefit.

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