U.S. files WTO complaint over Indian alcohol duties
India drops customs duties on imported alcohol
The U.S. Trade Representative's office on Friday filed a request for a World Trade Organization dispute settlement with India over the amount of duties India charges on wine and alcohol products imported from the United States.
Both U.S. and European Union officials have criticized what they consider to be excessive duties on imported liquor and wine, a protectionist measure implemented to support India's domestic producers. In some cases, alcohol is reported to be taxed at 500 percent.
Meanwhile, India's major producers have shot back that EU nations, in particular, have not provided open market access in Europe for Indian-made alcohol as Europeans are seeking for their products.
But in a nod toward avoiding a formal WTO hearing, the Indian government in July announced it was dropping duties to no more than 150 percent, still higher than U.S. and European trade officials consider acceptable.
The USTR said that it would accept comments on the issue through Sept. 14. Comments should be submitted electronically to FR0706@ustr.eop.gov, with 'India Alcohol Duties (DS/360)' in the subject line, or by fax to Sandy McKinzy at (202) 395-3640.