US Removal of Preferential Tariffs Unfortunate: India

India termed the US’ move to end preferential tariffs to $5.6 billion of Indian exports from June 5 “unfortunate” and vowed to protect the country’s national interest.

The US announced its decision to end preferential tariffs to Indian exports after determining that New Delhi has not assured the US that it will provide “equitable and reasonable access to its markets”. The announcement came on the day Piyush Goyal took charge as the new commerce and industry minister.

The two sides had been negotiating a trade package to resolve bilateral issues, including the fate of the Generalized System of Preferences scheme, whose termination the US announced in March. “It is unfortunate that this did not find acceptance by the US. India, like the US and other nations, shall always uphold its national interest in these matters,” the commerce and industry ministry said on Saturday. Significant development imperatives and concerns, and citizens’ aspirations for better standards of living will remain the guiding factor in the government’s approach, it said.

As part of the bilateral trade discussions, India had offered resolution on significant US requests to find a mutually acceptable way. “These are unilateral, non-reciprocal and non-discriminatory benefits extended by some developed countries to developing countries,” it said.

However, India said it will continue to build on its strong ties with the US and resolve “ongoing issues” on economies ties. “We are confident that the two nations will continue to work together intensively for further growing these ties in a mutually beneficial manner,” the ministry said.

The US also removed the exemption for India from the application of the safeguard measures on crystalline silicon photovoltaic products and large residential washers, effective June 5. In January last year, the US had implemented a safeguard measure on imports of certain CSPV cells and large washers.

“At the macro level, the impact of GSP withdrawal on our exports to the US would be minimal,” said Ganesh Kumar Gupta, president, FIEO

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