Monday, 30th October 2017

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Softer stance on US imports

India had proposed retaliatory tariff on 29 products from the US but is yet to implement it

By R. Suryamurthy in New Delhi
  • Published 10.06.19, 12:37 AM
  • Updated 10.06.19, 12:37 AM
  • a min read
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India had notified that it would raise tariffs on select US products worth $235 million, in retaliation to the unilateral duty hikes by the US. (Shutterstock)

The Narendra Modi-government is unlikely to adopt a tit-for-tat approach and impose retaliatory duties on 29 products from the US after Washington decided to withdraw zero-duty access to over 3,000 Indian products under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme.

“We are keen to resolve the trade differences with the US at the earliest and efforts are on in that direction. The ministry is not keen on any step which could send a negative signal to resolving the trade issues. However, the final decision on the duties would be taken in consultation with the external affairs and finance ministries,” a senior commerce ministry official said.

The imposition of retaliatory tariffs had been deferred several times in the past, with the last extension to expire on June 15. The duty would come up for review next week.

Last month, the move was postponed as the US had indicated that it would not revoke the GSP benefits to Indian products till the next government was formed.

The ministry had first proposed the retaliatory tariffs on 29 US products under a June 2018 order.

Striking a conciliatory note, commerce minister Piyush Goyal has said India would try to build export competitiveness on its own without depending on the GSP scheme provided by the US.

New Delhi’s retaliatory duties will be in response to penal import duties of 10 per cent on aluminium and 25 per cent on steel imposed by the US last year on a group of countries, including India, citing security threat.

India had notified that it would raise tariffs on select US products worth $235 million, in retaliation to the unilateral duty hikes by the US.

The official said India and the US were having two-track discussions — to increase trade in the short- and medium-term and identify long-term trade potentials.

While India is ready to lower its duties on smartphones, base stations, smart watches, printer ink cartridges and other ICT products, it is seeking the removal of steel duties and greater market access for its farm products, engineering goods, auto and auto parts, officials said.