International Trade Law
Moratorium on E-Commerce
Ahead of the 12th ministerial meeting scheduled for 20th November, India and South Africa have requested the WTO to revisit the issue of a moratorium on E-Commerce. Since 1998 the moratorium has been routinely extended every 2 years. The moratorium prevented countries from imposing customs duties on E-transmission. The justification they have provided is that developing countries are still unable to compete with developed countries. They have also stated that the loss in tariff revenue in 2017 alone was likely to be at least USD 10 billion. (To read further see here, here and here)
Shrimp Row with China
China has denied the shrimp imported from India on the grounds that the packaging may contain trace amount of the COVID 19 virus. It is estimated that 1000 to 1200 containers of shrimp worth 1200 crores were stranded in Chinese ports. India is the world largest exporter of shrimp with China being the second largest importer of shrimp from India after the USA. India has stated that China’s claim lacks test reports or any scientific basis, they cited detailed studies showing how the virus did not survive on packaging material. India will now likely file a dispute at the WTO alleging that China’s actions amounted to trade distortion. (To read more see here and here)
Anti-Dumping Against Chinese Pharma
Following a complaint from Arch Pharma Labs, India has initiated an anti-dumping probe in the alleged dumpling of ATS-8 from China. The chemical is necessary for the production of a pharmaceutical product called Atorvastatin API, widely used in the treatment of high cholesterol. (To read more see here)
Morocco Appealing Panel Report on Duties on School Book from Tunisia
Morocco has notified the Dispute Settlement Body of its decision to appeal against the panel report decision to deem Morocco’s anti-dumping measures against school books from Tunisia as being unjustified. However, with the current absence in the Appellate Body it is uncertain how the WTO will deal with the present appeal. (To read more click here, here and here).
Lithuania Shutting Border
Lithuania accuses Belarus of allowing migrants to enter the EU, in response they threatened to build a barrier and deploy troops across its border. Lithuania believes that the migrants have been allowed to flow into the EU in the past few days, with travel agencies booking flights for their entry. The Belarus President has responded by stating that they will no longer prevent migrants from crossing its western borders to the EU. (To read more see here).
Conflict and Security
Southern Syria Under Siege
Concern has been raised over the recent rise in armed violence between government forces and armed groups. Artillery shells have cause severe damages in Daraa al-Balad and other areas in the Southern regions of Syria. In response to the growing counter-attacks of the armed groups, the government of Syria has imposed stricter control in Daraa al-Balad with even tanks being stationed in several residential areas. Since the rise in fighting in late July, there have been a total of 8 civilian deaths. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated that the growing tensions have forced at least 18,000 civilians in Darra al-Balad to flee since 28th July. (To read more see here and here)
Growing Strength of Taliban
The past week has witnessed a strong push from the Taliban in Afghanistan with the capture of 3 provincial capitals. The most recent capital to be captures-Kunduz represents the most significant fall since the group announced its decision to launch an offensive front in May after the withdrawal of foreign forces. The Taliban have also captured large areas of rural Afghanistan. While the Afghanistan government denies their loss of control over the key regions, reporters situated in these regions have stated otherwise. The United States in response have sent B-52 bombers to attack Taliban strong holds, however, their position regarding the withdrawal of troops by August 31st has not changed. (To read more see here, and here)