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Trump move to end preferential trade treatment won't hurt India much: Govt

Under the GSP program, India exports $5.6 billion worth of goods to the United States duty-free

Agencies  |  New Delhi 

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India does not plan to impose retaliatory tariffs on US goods after US President said he intends to end India's preferential trade treatment, a top trade official said on Tuesday.

Anup Wadhawan said the withdrawal of the for Indian products would have limited impact.

The two countries had been working on a trade package to address each other's concerns, he said.

Under the program, India exports $5.6 billion worth of goods to the United States duty-free.

Arguing that New Delhi had failed to assure America that it would provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors, US President on Monday informed the US Congress about his intent to terminate the designation of India and Turkey as a beneficiary developing country under the (GSP) programme.

In a letter to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Trump said he was determined that New Delhi had "not assured" the United States that it would "provide equitable and reasonable access" to the markets of India.

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"I will continue to assess whether the Government of India is providing equitable and reasonable access to its markets, in accordance with the eligibility criteria," Trump said in his letter, a copy of which was released to the press.

In a separate letter, Trump also informed the Congress of his intent to terminate the beneficiary designation of Turkey. This was primarily because the economy of Turkey had improved a lot in the last four-and-a-half decades, he said.

"In the four-and-a-half decades since Turkey's designation as a GSP beneficiary developing country, Turkey's economy has grown and diversified," he said.

"Increases in Gross National Income per capita, declining poverty rates and export diversification by trading partner and by sector are all evidence of Turkey's increased level of economic development. In addition, Turkey has graduated from other developed countries' GSP programs due to its increase in economic development or through reciprocal arrangements," he argued.

Trump's letter to Pelosi could be seen as a major setback in India-US bilateral relationship, in particular in the arena of trade and economy.

First Published: Tue, March 05 2019. 10:25 IST