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WTO to try and sort out Brussels vs Bogota chip spat

The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday agreed to have a group of experts mediate a dispute over Colombia’s imposition of duties on frozen fries from three EU countries.

The dispute concerns anti-dumping customs fees imposed against fries from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

Brussels says the measures announced by Bogota in November 2018 are completely unjustified and harm European companies.

Anti-dumping measures are permitted by the Geneva-based WTO, but only under certain conditions and are often subject to challenges.

On Monday, “WTO members agreed to a second request from the European Union for the establishment of a panel to rule on Colombia’s anti-dumping duties on frozen fries,” a Geneva trade official said following a meeting of the organisation’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).

Colombia said it “remained ready to seek an amicable solution with the EU”, added the official.

Brussels made a first request for a settlement panel earlier this year, which was refused by Bogota. Under WTO rules, a second panel request is, in practice, automatically accepted.

– India ICT tariffs –

At Monday’s DSB meeting, the first held since March 5, the EU also secured the establishment of a panel to rule on Indian tariffs on certain information and communication technology goods.

“First requests for panels on India’s ICT tariffs from Japan and Chinese Taipei were blocked by India,” the Geneva trade official said.

In March, the EU said India had committed not to apply import duties on ICT products but for several years had strengthened and regularly hiked them, up to 20 percent.

Brussels consulted with India on the matter in May 2019, but failed to resolve the dispute.

The European Union says annual exports worth 400 million euros ($450 million) are being affected by the duties.

“India said it was disappointed with the EU request,” the trade official said.