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31 May, 2019 02:04

'Done deal’: India will lose its trade benefits, US officials say

'Done deal’: India will lose its trade benefits, US officials say

The removal of India from a preferential trade deal which allowed for $5.6bn in duty-free imports, is inevitable, American officials have stressed, claiming, however, that the US wants nothing but good relations with its partner.

Calling India a “high tariff nation” and repeatedly accusing the South Asian country of failing to provide the US with unlimited access to its markets, Washington announced its intention to terminate India's Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) designation in March. Though the 60-day notice period for New Delhi ended on May 3, the US has yet to issue a statement on the fate of India's status.

“There is every reason to believe that GSP suspension will move forward,” a State Department official told Reuters.

Also on rt.com ‘No knee-jerk reaction’: India says impact of US withdrawal of trade benefits will be limited

“I think that suspension was a done deal,” another source told AFP. “Now the task is how do we look ahead, how do we work under the second Modi administration to identify a path forward.”

The US-Indian tensions escalated in June last year when Washington slapped the country with 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent levies on aluminum. In response, New Delhi accused Washington of unfair trade practices and prepared its own retaliatory measures against the US, the introduction of which has been deferred a number of times pending the outcome of trade negotiations with Washington. For now, implementation of import duties on 29 American products, including almonds, walnuts and pulses, will not be considered until June 16.

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