New Delhi: India will impose higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products including almonds, apples and walnuts from Sunday, following Washington's withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
The new duties take effect from Sunday, said a government notification in the latest trade row since US President Donald Trump took office in 2017 vowing to act against countries with which Washington has a large trade deficit.
From June 5, 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. India termed that "unfortunate" and vowed to uphold its national interests.
Reuters had previously reported that India was preparing to levy higher tariffs following Washington's withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
India initially issued an order in June last year to raise import taxes as high as 120% on a slew of US items, incensed by Washington's refusal to exempt it from higher steel and aluminium tariffs.
But New Delhi repeatedly delayed raising tariffs as the two nations engaged in trade talks. Trade between them stood at about $142.1 billion in 2018.
India on Saturday amended its previous order "to implement the imposition of retaliatory duties on 28 specified goods originating in or exported from USA" while preserving the existing rate for these goods for all other countries, the government notification said.
Higher Indian tariffs on US goods could impact growing political and security ties between the two nations.
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.
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.
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.
New Delhi's new rules in areas such as e-commerce and data localisation have already angered the United States and hit companies such as Amazon.com, Walmart Inc, Mastercard and Visa, among others.
(With Reuters inputs)
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