Ahead of meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan on Friday, US President Donald Trump on Thursday termed India’s decision to impose retaliatory tariffs as “unacceptable” and asked it to be withdrawn.
“I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!” Trump said in a tweet.
After extending the deadline for several times, India has imposed additional customs duties on 29 US products, including almond, walnut and pulses, with effect from June 16.
The move will hurt American exporters of these 29 items as they have to pay duties on these products. India would get about $217 million in additional revenue from such imports.
The government had on June 21, 2018, decided to impose these duties in retaliation to the US decision of significantly hiking customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.
America had in March last year imposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent import duty on aluminium products. As India is one of the major exporters of these items to the US, the US decision has revenue implication of about $240 million on Indian steel and aluminium products.
India extended the deadline for imposition of these duties multiple times in the hope that some solution would emerge during a negotiation between India and the US on a proposed trade package.
But those negotiations came to a halt following the decision of the US to withdraw export incentives to Indian exporters under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme. These benefits were rolled back from June 5. It would impact goods worth $5.5 billion from India to America.
As part of the imposition of higher import duties on 29 US products, India has notified higher tariffs on several goods.
Trump’s tweet comes as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in India for a three-day visit to strengthen strategic ties between the two nations.
Pompeo on Wednesday held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Secretary Pompeo and EAM Jaishankar discussed a number of bilateral and global issues including terrorism. Jaishankar expressed India’s appreciation for the strong support that the country received from the Trump administration on its zero-tolerance towards cross-border terrorism.
On Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) issue, Jaishankar asserted that India has many relationships with many countries; many of which are standing. “They have a history. We will do what is in our national interest,” he added.
New Delhi is expecting the US administration to grant a waiver from sanctions to its procurement of five S-400 missile defence systems from Russia over which a threat of sanctions is looming large.
Diplomatic sources had on Tuesday said that S-400 is an issue for the US but the deal cannot be set aside as India has a long-standing relationship with Russia.