Indo-US Ties

India retaliates against hefty US tariffs, hikes import duty on 30 American items

The government has withdrawn concessions worth $241 million, the amount the US will collect because of increased tariffs on certain steel and aluminium items.

India has submitted a list of 30 items – including motorcycles, iron and steel goods, boric acid and lentils – to the World Trade Organization whose customs duties it has increased by up to 50% in retaliation against the United States imposing hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, PTI reported on Saturday. The revised rates will come into effect from June 21.

The Centre’s decision comes just three days after the two countries agreed to hold comprehensive trade talks. Last week, United States President Donald Trump accused New Delhi of taxing some US goods almost 100%.

“India hereby reiterates its decision to suspend concessions or other obligations notified to the Council for Trade in Goods on May 18, 2018,” the government said in a letter to the WTO dated June 14. “The suspension of concessions will continue to apply until the US’ safeguard measures are lifted.”

An unidentified official told PTI that the United States would collect $241 million (Rs 1,650 crore) worth of duties by hiking tariffs on certain steel and aluminium items from India, and thereby “we also proposed to withdraw concessions of similar amount from these 30 products imported by India from the US.”

Motor cycles with engine capacity over 800cc are going to attract 50% more customs duty, almonds 20%, walnuts 20% and apples 25%, reported The Economic Times. “This is the first time that India has levied retaliatory tariffs on any country,” the daily quoted an unidentified official as saying.

In May, India notified the WTO about imposing retaliatory tariffs on 20 items, including peas, chickpeas, wheat, soybean oil, refined palmolein, coco powder, chocolate products and golf carts. It had then proposed 100% duty each on walnuts, 50% duty on goods vehicles with capacity over five tonnes and 50% tariff on golf carts and snowmobiles.

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