The WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and Unilateralism of Special Economic Zones
Many governmental incentives unilaterally offered in special economic zones affect competition in international markets and thus fall within the scope of the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. Until very recently, products made in such zones could face countervailing duty investigations abroad on a charge of improper subsidization. In 2019, the World Trade Organization issued its first ruling focusing on the legality of certain special economic zone subsidies. In particular, the panel in India-Export Related Measures found fiscal preferences under an Indian scheme to be prohibited export subsidies. This article examines the status of special economic zone incentives under the multilateral subsidy regime, discusses the relevant anti-subsidy practice, and identifies 'risky' and 'safe' types of support measures that constitute unilateralism of zones in promoting economic activities.
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