NEW DELHI – The government of India said on Tuesday that the preferential trade status extended by the United States through the Generalized System of Preferences amounted to a yearly $190 million duty reduction, after Washington threatened to withdraw the concessions a day earlier.
In a letter written to the United States Congress, President Donald Trump on Monday announced his plans to withdraw GSP benefits extended by the country that provides tariff preferences to developing countries, as it has not been able to guarantee an equitable and reasonable access to its markets in several sectors.
“In India’s case the GSP concessions extended by the US amounted to duty reduction of only USD 190 million per annum,” said the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in a statement following Washington’s announcement.
However, the ministry said that New Delhi “was able to offer a very meaningful way forward on almost all the US requests,” since the review was initiated by Washington in April 2018.
“India was ready to address US concerns regarding medical devices in principle, by putting in place a suitable trade margin approach in a reasonable time frame to balance concerns about fair pricing for the consumers and adequate remuneration for the suppliers,” the statement said.
Another US concern regarding certification requirement procedure for dairy products was addressed and New Delhi agreed to consider it only if the “source animal had never been fed animal derived blood meal” due to “cultural and religious sentiment.”
The ministry further said that India’s IT duties were “moderate and not import stopping.”
It also added that India was open to accepting US requests regarding products such as alfalfa hay, cherries and pork.
“It is pertinent that India’s tariffs are within its bound rates under WTO commitments, and are on the average well below these bound rates,” said the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The US wants to withdraw India and Turkey’s GSP status, which will only be possible after a 60-day period following the presentation of Trump’s letter in the Congress.
According to the US government, the bilateral trade between India and the US reached $126 billion in 2017.