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After Proposing Reciprocal Tax, Trump Says He Plans to End India's Preferential Trade Treatment

The US goods and services trade deficit with India was $27.3 billion in 2017, according to the US Trade Representative's Office.

Reuters

Updated:March 5, 2019, 9:52 AM IST
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After Proposing Reciprocal Tax, Trump Says He Plans to End India's Preferential Trade Treatment
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump. (File photo)
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Washington: US President Donald Trump said on Monday he intends to end India's preferential trade treatment under a programme that allows $5.6 billion worth of Indian exports to enter the United States duty free. Trump, who has vowed to reduce US trade deficits, has repeatedly called out India for its high tariffs.

“I am taking this step because, after intensive engagement between the United States and the Government of India, I have determined that India has not assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India,” Trump said in a letter to congressional leaders.

The US Trade Representative's Office said removing India from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme would not take effect for at least 60 days after notifications to Congress and the Indian government, and it will be enacted by a presidential proclamation.

The US goods and services trade deficit with India was $27.3 billion in 2017, according to the US Trade Representative's Office.

India is the world's largest beneficiary of the GSP programme and ending its participation would be the strongest punitive action against the country since Trump took office in 2017.

US-India trade ties were hurt after India unveiled new rules on e-commerce that restrict the way Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc-backed Flipkart do business. The e-commerce rules followed a drive by New Delhi to force global card payments companies such as Mastercard Inc and Visa Inc to move their data to India and the imposition of higher tariffs on electronic products and smartphones.

Reacting to the move, a source in the Indian government said the country hoped the planned withdrawal by the United States would not lead to trade hurdles, adding that the "actual benefit" to India was only $250 million a year.

"GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) is more symbolic of the strategic relationship not in value terms," the source said, declining to be named ahead of a press briefing by the Indian trade ministry.
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