India Retaliates To Trump's Duty Hike, Raises Import Duties On US Products

Government Hikes Import Duties On Agricultural Steel Products

India on Thursday notified that its retaliatory tariff against 30 USA products worth $240 million will come into effect starting 4 August to counter Trump administration's move to unilaterally hike duties on Indian steel and aluminium exports.

India had sought to be exempt from the new USA tariffs on steel and aluminum, arguing its exports were small in comparison with other countries', but got nowhere.

The tit-for-tat duty hike decision by India is similar to that of European Union and China which chose to levy higher import duties on a variety of United States products in retaliation to the protectionist policies adopted by America.

Earlier this week, India submitted a revised list of 30 items to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on which it proposed to hike the customs duty by up to 50 per cent.

The import duty on Bengal gram and chickpeas and Bengal gram has been raised to 60 per cent while that on lentils has been increased to 30 per cent.

A meeting of senior officials of India and the United States is scheduled here for June 26-27 and duty hike decision is likely to figure in the discussion, sources said. "Now additional customs duties have been imposed on 29 items".

Shelled almonds imported from the U.S. will now attract import duty at '120/kg as against '100/kg earlier.

India has notified the WTO a revised list of 30 USA imports on which it intends to impose retaliatory tariffs. Almonds in shell will attract import duty at the rate of '42/kg as against '35/kg.

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In the notification, there is no mention of duty hike on the motorcycle with engine capacity of over 800cc.

Import duty on diagnostic reagents has been doubled to 20 per cent, while binders for foundry moulds has been hiked to 17.5 per cent.

Sources said out of 30 items proposed, India has "excluded motorbikes above 800 cc".

The issue began in March, when U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order imposing a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminium imports, causing concern among its trading partners and members of the WTO.

For iron and steel products, the increase is at least 50 per cent of the existing rate (from 15 to upwards of 22.5 per cent).

New Delhi, incensed by Washington's refusal to exempt it from the new tariffs, also imposed a 120 percent duty on the import of walnuts in the strongest action yet against the United States. More than a third of the figure comes from almonds; India is the world's biggest buyer of us -grown almonds.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in April that the U.S. trade deficit with India had fallen to $23 billion in 2017, a 6 percent decrease, as U.S. goods exported to India rose almost $26 billion, up 18 percent from the previous year.

Last week, commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu had said India and the U.S. have agreed to a detailed discussion to address New Delhi's concerns, following his meeting with top trade officials in the Trump administration.

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