The United States has challenged Indian export subsidy schemes at the World Trade Organization, saying that these harm American workers and provide an uneven playing field, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The United States trade representative claimed that at least half a dozen Indian programmes provide exemptions from some duties, taxes and fees to Indian exporters. These allow them to sell their goods cheaply, thereby reportedly harming Americans.

Some of these programmes are the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme, Export Oriented Units Scheme and sector specific schemes, including Electronics Hardware Technology Parks Scheme, Special Economic Zones, Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme and Duty Free Imports for Exporters Programme, according to PTI.

Government data show that thousands of Indian companies receive benefits worth $7 billion (approximately Rs 4.5 lakh crore) annually from these schemes.

“These export subsidy programs harm American workers by creating an uneven playing field on which they must compete,” United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. “USTR will...hold our trading partners accountable by vigorously enforcing US rights under our trade agreements and by promoting fair and reciprocal trade through all available tools, including the WTO.”

Export subsidies are prohibited under the World Trade Organization’s rules as they provide an unfair competitive advantage to the firms that receive them. Developing countries are provided a limited exception, till they reach a particular economic benchmark, Lighthizer said. However, India, which was initially within the group of developing country, crossed this benchmark in 2015, he said.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale is currently on a visit to the United States, and is scheduled to meet the US trade representative.