India slaps retaliatory tariffs on US goods

14:54 | 17/06/2019 Global Economy

India has imposed higher levies on a range of US products after Washington ended key trade privileges for New Delhi. The US accuses India of being a "high-tariff country" that limits access to its gigantic market.

India is charging higher duties from Sunday on imports of 28 US products, including almonds, apples and walnuts, in response to the US government's decision this month to withdraw certain trade privileges for the South Asian country.

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).

India termed the move "unfortunate" and vowed to uphold its national interests.

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.

The move is expected to heighten trade tensions between the two countries. It comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with 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.

Theo dw