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India imposes tariffs on US goods in retaliation to scrapping of GSP status

In a retaliatory move to the US administration’s sept to strip India of the GSP Plus status, India has imposed tariffs on US goods.

Recently, Washington ended key trade privileges for New Delhi accusing India of being a “high-tariff country” that limits access to its gigantic market by US products.

India is going to charge higher duties from Sunday on imports of 28 US products, including almonds, apples and walnuts.

From June 5, US President Donald Trump scrapped trade privileges under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for India, the biggest beneficiary of a scheme that allowed duty-free exports of up to $5.6 billion (€4.98 billion).

New Delhi’s retaliation now will likely hurt US exporters of agricultural goods. India is by far the largest buyer of US almonds, paying $543 million for more than half of US almond exports in 2018, US Department of Agriculture data shows. It is the second-largest buyer of US apples, taking $156 million worth in 2018.

This latest India move will heighten tensions over trade ties between the two countries. This comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet Trump on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Japan on June 28 and 29.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is expected to visit India this month, said this week the US was open to dialogue to resolve trade differences with India through greater access for American companies to its markets.

Trade between India and the US has grown rapidly over the past decade and stood at about $142.1 billion in 2018. The two countries enjoy close bilateral ties, but Washington has long accused India of being a “high-tariff country” that limits access to its huge market.

US trade officials also accuse New Delhi of deploying “a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on US commerce.” This, they argue, has led to the US facing a huge trade deficit with India, amounting to some $27.3 billion in 2017.