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India may again extend retaliatory tariff deadline on US products: Report

The last extension on products like almond, walnut, and pulses will end on May 16.

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

India may target almonds, walnuts, and pulses imported from the US in retaliatory tariff.

India may again extend by a month the deadline to impose retaliatory import duties on 29 US products, said a government official on Tuesday.

The last extension on products like almonds, walnuts, and pulses will end on May 16.

The commerce ministry has asked its finance counterpart to issue a notification with regard to further extension of the deadline, the official said.

These deadlines were extended several times since June 2018, when India decided to impose these duties in retaliation to a move by the US to impose high customs duties on certain steel and aluminum products.

This extension comes in the backdrop of the US decision to withdraw export incentives being provided to Indian exporters under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, potentially hurting India's exports to the US worth $5.6 billion.

The US had given a 60-day notice, which ended on May 2 but has yet to withdraw those benefits.

Meanwhile, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu held bilateral meetings on May 6 here to discuss trade-related issues.

Further extension of GSP benefits was part of a trade package being negotiated between the two countries. However, those negotiations hit a roadblock after the US announced its decision to roll back GSP benefits from Indian exporters.

The US administration has alleged that India in imposing high import duties on products such as paper and Harley Davidson motorcycles from America.

India wants the US to exempt them from the high duty imposed on certain steel and aluminum products, provide greater market access for agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering sector products.

On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access through a cut in import duties for its agriculture goods, dairy products, medical devices, IT and communication items.

As part of the imposition of higher import duties, India has notified higher tariffs on several products. While import duty on walnut has been hiked to 120 per cent from 30 per cent, duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal will be raised to 70 per cent, from 30 per cent currently. Levy on lentils will be increased to 40 per cent.

India's exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were at USD 26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 18:35 IST