India’s digital strikes against China protected by GATS provisions
The measures taken by India are justified under domestic importance such as privacy and public order
As India banned 59 Chinese apps to counter Chinese intrusion into Indian territory, China has threatened to sue India at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for violating multilateral WTO agreements.
While China termed this digital strike of Indian government as “selective and discriminatory”, India termed it as a move to protect “sovereignty and integrity of India”.
An article published in moderndiplomacy says that India’s recent measure is protected under the provisions of Article XIV (a), XIV (c) (2), and XIV BIS of General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
According to moderndiplomacy, Article XIV of GATS provides the member-state to accommodate other policy goals and choices made in accordance with domestic laws and societal values. Thus the measures taken by India are justified under domestic importance such as privacy and public order.
GATS’ Article XIV BIS is another such provision that provides the room for implementing those actions which it considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests.
The article says India’s measure against Chinese apps can also be justifiable under Article XIV(a) as it provides the liberty to the member-state for adopting or enforcing any measures that are necessary to protect public morals or to maintain public order.
The allegations against Chinese apps of stealing data from users justifies Indian actions under Article XIV (C) of GATS, it says.
It is also justified under Article XIV BIS of GATS which allows the member-state to take any actions that are required to preserve the sovereignty and national security interests of its state in times of war or any emergency in international relations.
Since Indian action falls under security and general exception provided under GATS, India has a more strong and firm case in WTO than China, the article adds.