India may put off imposition of higher import duties on 29 US products again

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New Delhi | Published: October 29, 2018 11:47:58 PM

The government, for the third time, is expected to postpone the deadline for the imposition of higher customs duties on 29 US products, including almond, walnut and pulses, by another 45 days, an official said.

US President Donald Trump, LATEST NEWS, important news, trending news, news today, news now, news todayThe commerce ministry has asked its finance counterpart to extend the deadline for the rollout of duty hike further and a notification in this regard will issued soon, the official added.

The government, for the third time, is expected to postpone the deadline for the imposition of higher customs duties on 29 US products, including almond, walnut and pulses, by another 45 days, an official said.

The commerce ministry has asked its finance counterpart to extend the deadline for the rollout of duty hike further and a notification in this regard will issued soon, the official added. In June, India decided to impose retaliatory tariffs from August 4. But it was extended by another 45 days till September 18 and then till November 2.

The duty hike move by India was in retaliation to US President Donald Trump’s March 9 decision to impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items. Senior officials of India and the US are in discussions to finalise a kind of trade deal. Both the sides holding two track discussions — to increase trade in short and medium term, and identify long term trade potentials.

India is pressing for exemption from high duty imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their generalised system of preferences (GSP), greater market access for its products from sectors, including agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering. As many as 3,500 Indian products from sectors such as chemicals and engineering get duty-free access to the US market under the GSP, introduced in 1976.

On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, including medical devices. As part of imposition of higher import duties, New Delhi has notified higher tariffs on several products. While import duty on walnut is to be hiked to 120 per cent from 30 per cent, duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal will be hiked to 70 per cent from 30 per cent.

Levy on lentils will be hiked to 40 per cent from 30 per cent. Other products which would attract higher duties include boric acid, phosphoric acid, diagnostic reagent, flat rolled products of iron, certain flat rolled products of stainless steel. India’s exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were USD 26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.

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