A bipartisan group of six Senators have urged the Trump administration to work with the Indian government to reduce its import tariff on US soda ash from 7.5 percent to 5.5 percent.
In a letter to US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, the Senators said that thousands of US jobs rely on the soda ash industry and keeping tariffs low will help US workers and economy nationwide.
The letter, dated February 3, was signed by Senators Mike Enzi, John Barrasso, Richard Blumenthal, David Perdue, Jeff Merkley, and Ron Wyden.
In October 2019, soda ash producers in India recommended doubling the tariff on soda ash imports from 7.5 percent to 15 percent as part of the government's 'Make in India' policies.
"It is vital to fair trade that the GOI reject this blatant protectionism," the senators wrote.
"A tariff reduction would principally benefit US exporters rather than other exporters such as those from China who produce more costly and environmentally-damaging synthetic soda ash. India's history of restricting US soda ash should no longer be tolerated," they said.
The senators said natural US soda ash which is a key component in glass, detergents and paper is the most competitive and environmentally-friendly soda ash in the world.
About 58 percent of US soda ash production is exported. According to the senators, because of the global rise in environmentally conscious policies and the thousands of US jobs dependent on soda ash, the US has prudent interests in keeping tariffs low with India and other nations.