India postpones retaliatory tariffs against US until after elections
India has once again extended the deadline to impose counter-tariffs on US products by a month, hoping to resolve the trade dispute with Washington once general elections conclude and a new government is formed.
Implementation of import duties on 29 American products, including almonds, walnuts and pulses, will not be considered until June 16, a notification from the finance ministry said. “This is being done taking into account the fact that the US has not yet withdrawn the Generalized System of Preferences schemes for India,” a government official told BusinessLine.
The US and India have been engaged in trade talks for nearly a year after Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum last June. India prepared its own retaliatory measures against the US but kept on deferring their introduction pending an outcome of trade negotiations with Washington.
Calling India a “high tariff nation” and repeatedly accusing it of failing to provide the US with enough access to its markets, US President Donald Trump is seeking to strike a “better deal.” In March, Trump gave New Delhi a 60-day notice prior to ending the country’s participation in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, under which it enjoys zero tariffs on $5.6 billion of exports to the United States.
The US was supposed to withdraw the GSP at the beginning of May, but since that has not happened, the countries hope to reach an agreement once the Indian general election finishes this week. “During US Secretary for Commerce Wilbur Ross’ visit last week, it became clear that Washington did not want to withdraw the GSP scheme till it gave an opportunity to the new government formed after the general elections to sort out its concerns,” the official explained.
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