Trump moves to scrap trade privilege for India, Delhi plays down impact

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These issues related to market access for various agriculture and animal husbandry products, relaxation and easing of procedures related to issues like telecom testing and conformity assessment, and tariff reduction on ICT products.The US Department of Commerce engaged with various government departments concerned with these issues, and India was able to offer a very meaningful way forward on nearly all the US requests.In a few instances, specific US requests were not found reasonable and doable in light of public welfare concerns and considering India's developing country status and its national interest.

US President Donald Trump has chose to end Washington's preferential trade treatment for India that allows a duty exemption on more than $5 billion (€4.4 billion) worth of its goods coming into the United States.

Of the 3,700 products covered, India used the concession for just 1,784, Wadhawan added. "India's total GSP duty benefits were $190 million", he said.

Later, the United States also added various other issues on a unilateral basis and that included market access for various agri products, animal husbandry items, relaxation for various procedural requirements in IT goods.

Mr Trump's frustration with India's trade policies have been reflected in his repeated lashing out at India for its high tariffs on US Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a theme he returned to at the weekend while addressing conservative activists outside Washington.

The move affects just a fraction of India's trade flows, yet it comes weeks before India's national elections, and just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is trumpeting its foreign policy prowess and military strength following a stand-off with Pakistan.

India mainly exports raw materials and intermediate goods such as organic chemicals to the U.S., he said. "Turkey's termination from GSP follows a finding that it is sufficiently economically developed and should no longer benefit from preferential market access to the United States market". India exported around $50 billion worth of goods to the United States in 2017. Countries not covered by the GSP face USA tariffs of 2 percent and upwards.

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Modi's own relationship with Trump has been limited, with their meetings less frequent than those of Chinese President Xi Jinping with Trump, for example. The new e-commerce rules are expected to have a significant impact on US retail giants Amazon and Walmart.

As prices of certain important medical devices like stent in domestic markets were quite high, India put in place price caps.

The official said India had made a friendly gesture by not imposing retaliatory tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Washington has not recognised New Delhi's efforts to trim the trade deficit.

In the announcement, Lighthizer said India had not agreed to open up its markets more to USA companies. India's imports from the country were worth $26.61 billion.

"Some industries which are highly export-oriented to the American markets would be impacted, like pharma or textiles", said Siddharth Sedani, equity advisory head at brokerage Anand Rathi.

"India was agreeable to a very meaningful mutually acceptable package on the above lines to be agreed to at this time, while keeping remaining issues under discussion in the future", the ministry statement said. India's economy, the sixth largest in the world, with a GDP of $2.6 trillion, according to the International Monetary Fund, is slated to outstrip its rivals in Europe in the coming decades.

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