India defers imposition of duties on US goods

The government, for the second time, has extended the deadline for the imposition of higher customs duties on 29 products, including almond, walnut and pulses, imported from the US, till November 2.

The government, for the second time, has extended the deadline for the imposition of higher customs duties on 29 products, including almond, walnut and pulses, imported from the US, till November 2.

In June, India decided to impose retaliatory tariffs from August 4. But it was extended by another 45 days till September 18.

In a notification last night, the department of revenue, has said that now the duties would come effect from 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, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war.

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% from 30%, duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal will be hiked to 70% from 30%. Levy on lentils will be hiked to 40% from 30%.

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 $47.9 billion, while imports were $26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India. 

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