WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is reviewing the eligibility of India, Indonesia and Kazakhstan for a programme that allows duty-free imports of certain goods, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office said on Thursday.
USTR said it launched the reviews over concerns India and Indonesia were not complying with rules of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme on market access, and Kazakhstan was violating GSP rules on worker rights.
The review comes as Trump has threatened some $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to try to force changes in China's industrial policies. Washington accuses Chinese firms of stealing trade secrets of U.S. companies and forcing them into joint ventures to acquire their technology. Beijing denies this charge.
The United States ran a $375 billion goods trade deficit with China last year, while the 2017 U.S. deficits reached $23 billion with India, $13 billion with Indonesia and $234 million with Kazakhstan, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
In October, USTR announced it would assess the eligibility of countries in the GSP programme, which provides duty-free treatment for goods from about 120 poor and developing countries.
The USTR said India's review is partially based on petitions filed by the U.S. dairy and medical device industries.
"India has implemented a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on U.S. commerce," the USTR statement said.
Indonesia's review is based on concerns over its compliance with the GSP programme's services and investment criterion, it said.
A petition from the AFL-CIO U.S. labour federation is the basis for the Kazakhstan review. The AFL-CIO alleges Kazakhstan "has not taken steps to afford internationally recognised worker rights," USTR said.
(Reporting by David Lawder; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and David Gregorio)
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