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India Again Extends Deadline for Imposition of Retaliatory Tariffs on 29 US Goods till December

In June, India decided to impose retaliatory tariffs from August 4. But it was extended by another 45 days till September 18 and then again till November 2.

PTI

Updated:November 1, 2018, 9:34 PM IST
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India Again Extends Deadline for Imposition of Retaliatory Tariffs on 29 US Goods till December
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New Delhi: India, for the third time, extended the deadline for the imposition of higher customs duties on 29 US products, including almond, walnut and pulses, by another 45 days until December 17, the government said on Thursday.

According to a notification by the finance ministry, the implementation of the duty hike has been postponed until December 17.

The commerce ministry had asked its finance counterpart to extend the deadline for the rollout of duty hike further.

In June, India decided to impose retaliatory tariffs from August 4. But it was extended by another 45 days till September 18 and then again till November 2.

As part of imposition of higher import duties, New Delhi has notified higher tariffs on several products. While import duty on walnut is to be hiked to 120 per cent from 30 per cent, duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal will be hiked to 70 per cent from 30 per cent. Levy on lentils will be hiked to 40 per cent from 30 per cent.

Other products which would attract higher duties include boric acid, phosphoric acid, diagnostic reagent, flat rolled products of iron, certain flat rolled products of stainless steel.

The duty hike move by India was in retaliation to US President Donald Trump's March 9 decision to impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items.

Senior officials of India and the US are in discussions to finalise a kind of trade deal. Both the sides holding two track discussions — to increase trade in short and medium term, and identify long term trade potentials.

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 farm and manufacturing products, including medical devices.

India's exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion, while imports were $26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.

Meanwhile, the US on Thursday ended duty-free concessions on import of about 50 Indian products, mostly from handloom and agriculture sectors. These goods were so far availing duty-free access to the US market under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

In April, the US announced eligibility review of India for the GSP.

According to the USTR, the total US imports under GSP in 2017 was $21.2 billion, of which India was the biggest beneficiary with $5.6 billion, followed by Thailand ($4.2 billion) and Brazil ($2.5 billion).

Of the $5.6 billion, these 50 products accounted for $72.35 million worth of duty free exports to the US in 2017.

Some of the Indian products removed from the provisions include dried pigeon pea seed; areca nuts, fresh or dried, in shell; mangoes, prepared or preserved by vinegar or acetic acid; and sandstone, merely cut into blocks or slabs of a rectangular (including square) shape.
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