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U.S. Launches WTO Challenge Against India Over Export Subsidies

  • U.S. argues the programs give Indian firms unfair advantage
  • Complaint sends signal U.S. still willing to use WTO

A truck sits parked next to shipping containers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

The U.S. launched a challenge at the World Trade Organization against India’s export subsidies, arguing the programs give Indian companies an unfair advantage.

The challenge covers Indian programs including the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme, the Export Oriented Units Scheme, and the Electronics Hardware Technology Parks Scheme, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday in a statement.

“These export subsidy programs harm American workers by creating an uneven playing field on which they must compete,” Lighthizer said in a statement.

The dispute is noteworthy given the Trump administration’s frequent criticism of the Geneva-based WTO, which was created in 1995 and hears disputes between countries over trade. The U.S. has blocked new appointments to the WTO’s appellate body, and President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum have caused hand-wringing in capitals around the world.

The complaint against India shows that, at least for the time being, the USTR sees the WTO dispute-settlement body as a viable forum for ensuring fair trade for U.S. producers.

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