Thailand seeks to join consultations over India's sugar subsidies case in WTO

Thailand has expressed its interest to join the consultations sought by Guatemala under the aegis of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism against India's sugar subsidies.

On March 25, after Brazil and Australia, Guatemala dragged India to the WTO alleging that New Delhi's sugar subsidies to farmers are inconsistent with global trade rules.

In a communication to the WTO, Thailand said it wants to join "in the consultations requested by Guatemala in a communication circulated to WTO Members on 25 March 2019, in document entitled 'India - Measures Concerning Sugar and Sugarcane'".

Thailand has substantial trade interest in these consultations, it said, adding that in 2018 it was the world's second largest exporter of sugar with export value of USD 2,596.78 million.

"As a result of this substantial trade interest, Thailand respectfully requests that it be permitted to join the consultations in this dispute. Thailand looks forward to acceptance of this request and advice regarding the date and venue of the consultations," it added.

Seeking consultation is the first step of dispute settlement process. If the two nations are not able to reach a mutually agreed solution through consultation, India may request for a WTO dispute settlement panel to review the matter.

Guatemala has sought consultations with India under the rules and procedures governing the settlement of disputes of the Geneva-based 164-member WTO.

It has filed dispute under certain articles of WTO's Agreement on Agriculture, Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 with respect to domestic support measures maintained by India in favour of producers of sugarcane and sugar, and export subsidies for sugarcane and sugar.

The Central American country has said that India maintains various domestic support measures in favour of sugarcane and sugar producers, such as a system of administered prices for sugar cane which operates at the federal level through the Fair and Remunerative Price; a minimum selling price for sugar; and additional measures that provide financial assistance to sugarcane producers which include production subsidies to mills to offset sugarcane price arrears, and subsidies to maintain buffer stocks.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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