Trumped! India may impose retaliatory tariffs on 29 U.S. products

The Generalized System of Preference (GSP) is the largest and oldest USA trade preference programme and is created to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.

After extending the deadline for several times, India will now go ahead with its decision to impose retaliatory import duties on 29 USA products, including almond, walnut and pulses, sources said Friday.

"The duty hikes will come into effect in normal course as the notification to postpone the hikes will expire on Saturday night".

Retaliatory tariffs on USA goods were deferred till June 16 as India was in the midst of General Elections. New Delhi has since been postponing implementation of these duties hoping to resolve trade concerns, including the proposed withdrawal of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by the US.

The Narendra Modi government has extended its deadline to impose retaliatory import duties on 29 products from the U.S. eight times till June 16 due to Lok Sabha elections.

Washington, however, withdrew the GSP benefits from India on June 5, 2019, which may have prompted the government to finally put the duties in place. "India had to respond to the U.S. steps".

Ex-Stanford coach avoids prison in U.S. college admissions scandal
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is expected to visit India this month, said this week that the US was open to dialogue with India by allowing US firms more access to Indian markets.

Dates for Pompeo's visit have not been officially announced but media said it could be ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first meeting with Trump in more than two years, on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Japan, on June 28 and 29.

Trump has repeatedly called out India for its high tariffs, even though the two countries have developed close political and security ties. Trade between them stood at about $142.1bn in 2018. The trade balance is in favour of India.

India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry did not respond to an email from Reuters to seek comments.

Briefing reporters after a meeting with exporters and state government representatives, Goyal said the withdrawal of GSP is not a matter of life and death for all exporters.

In March, the USA had announced its decision to withdraw the preferential duty benefits to India after talks between the two sides broke down on "disproportionate" demands by Washington. The increase in import duties will be effective from June 16.

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