The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has proposed retaliatory commerce actions towards India and sure different nations which have imposed or are contemplating equalisation levy/digital companies tax on e-commerce corporations. It has issued notices searching for public feedback on proposed commerce actions towards six nations, together with India. The USTR, in a press release, mentioned it “is proceeding with the public notice and comment process on possible trade actions to preserve procedural options before the conclusion of the statutory one-year time period for completing the investigations.”
According to a USTR doc pertaining to India, it has requested “written comments regarding a potential trade action in connection with the Section 301 investigation of India’s Digital Services Tax.” On this, sources within the authorities on Saturday mentioned India will look at the proposed motion with the stakeholders involved and would take appropriate measures, retaining in thoughts the commerce and industrial curiosity of the nation and general curiosity of its individuals.
In June 2020, the US initiated an investigation below Section 301 of the US Trade Act, 1974 towards the taxation on digital companies adopted or into consideration by India, Italy, Turkey, UK, Spain and Austria. The report of this investigation in January this 12 months concluded that India’s equalisation levy, by its construction and operation, discriminates towards US digital corporations. It was strongly opposed by India.
The US had requested for bilateral consultations on this matter, and India had submitted its feedback to the USTR on July 15, 2020. It had additionally participated in a bilateral session held on November 5, 2020. “Consequent to the determination and findings, now USTR has proposed a retaliatory action under Section 301 against India”s equalisation levy, along with other countries,” a supply mentioned.
USTR Katherine Tai has said that the US is dedicated to working with its buying and selling companions to resolve its considerations with digital companies taxes and deal with broader problems with worldwide taxation. “The US remains committed to reaching an international consensus through the OECD process on international tax issues. However, until such a consensus is reached, we will maintain our options under the Section 301 process, including, if necessary, the imposition of tariffs,” Tai has mentioned.
According to the USTR doc, the proposed motion consists of imposition of extra advert valorem tariffs on sure merchandise from India, comparable to sea meals, bamboo merchandise, semi-precious and valuable stones, furnishings, cork, and cigarette papers.
“In particular, USTR proposes to impose additional tariffs of up to 25 per cent ad valorem on an aggregate level of trade that would collect duties on goods of India in the range of the amount of DST (digital services tax) that India is expected to collect from US companies,” it mentioned.
Initial estimates point out that the worth of the DST payable by US-based firm teams to India will probably be as much as about USD 55 million per 12 months, it added. India has earlier said that the equalisation levy will not be discriminatory and solely seeks to make sure a level-playing discipline with respect to e-commerce actions undertaken by entities with everlasting institution in India.
It was additionally clarified by India to the US that the levy was utilized solely prospectively, and has no extra-territorial utility, since it’s primarily based on gross sales occurring within the territory of India via digital means.