FEB 06, 2024 | ASIA PACIFIC | INDIA
Digital India Needs This WTO Shield
The Economic Times, February 6, 2024
India is a major exporter of IT and software services, with exports worth $194 billion in 2023 and growing at an annual rate of 12.2% as of 2022. Depending on other WTO member interpretations, some of these services could fall within the definition of electronic transmissions, which could subject them to customs duties and requirements by other trading partners if the moratorium lapses.
When trade ministers convene for WTO's ministerial conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi on February 26-29, they must renew a foundational element of the global digital economy. Since 1998, WTO member countries, including India, have agreed to refrain from imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions. Abandoning the WTO ecommerce moratorium would harm the competitiveness of India's IT and software sector, create uncertainty for digitally enabled businesses and threaten to upend digital commerce. So, the agreement must be periodically renewed.
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