India may withdraw decision to hike tariff on US products if issues resolved

Trade differences between the United States and India are  increasing and last week New Delhi raised duties on US farm products in retaliation against Trump’s tariff hikes on steel and aluminium.

India on Thursday indicated that it may withdraw the notification imposing additional duties on 29 US products, to be effective from August 4, if both the sides are able to sort out the differences over tariffs, official sources said.

“The implementation date for the notification is August 4. We are hopeful of resolving the tariff issues before that,” they said.

These issues were discussed during the three-day meeting between senior officials of both the countries in New Delhi. It has been decided that another official level meeting will be held next month in the US.

“A delegation will visit anytime after the mid of next month to finalise the final list of identified products on which a certain kind of announcement would be made by political leaders of both the sides,” they added.

India has announced to increase customs duty on 29 products, including pulses and iron and steel products, imported from the US as a retaliatory action against the tariff hike by Washington. The duty hike will come into effect from August 4.

India is pressing for exemption from high duty imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), greater market access for its products from sectors, including agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.

As many as 3,500 Indian products from sectors such as chemicals and engineering get duty free access to the US market under the GSP, introduced in 1976.

On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access for its agri and manufacturing products.

Sources also said the Indian side informed them about huge potential to increase trade in areas like oil and gas and civil aircrafts.

India and the US are having two track discussions — to increase trade in short and medium term, and identify long term trade potentials.

India’s exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion, while imports were $26.7 billion.