Walnuts sit on display at a store in Italy. (Photographer: Geraldine Hope Ghelli/Bloomberg)

India May Extend Deadline For Imposition Of Higher Tariffs On U.S. Imports

The government may extend the deadline for imposition of higher customs duties on 29 products, imported from the U.S. by another 45 days. Among the 29 products are almonds, walnuts and pulses.

A Finance Ministry notification in June had said that the higher tariffs on imports from the U.S. would come into effect from Aug. 4. “Commerce Ministry has suggested the Department of Revenue to amend the notification for further extension of retaliatory measures by another 45 days,” a Commerce Ministry official said.

According to another official, India and the U.S. are holding discussions to remove trade hurdles between the countries and India is expecting some positive outcome.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs is likely to issue an amended notification extending the date for the new levy on Aug. 4, the official added.

While the import duty on walnut was to be hiked to 120 percent from 30 percent earlier, duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram and masur dal was to be hiked to 70 percent from 30 percent. Levy on lentils was to be hiked to 40 percent from 30 percent.

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The duty hike decision by India was in retaliation to U.S. 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.

India has said the duty imposed by the U.S. has affected steel exports by $198.6 million and aluminium shipments by $42.4 million. India has also dragged the U.S. to the World Trade Organisation’s dispute settlement mechanism over the imposition of import duties on steel and aluminium.

India exports steel and aluminium products worth about $1.5 billion to the U.S. every year. Exports to the U.S. in 2016-17 stood at $42.21 billion, while imports amounted to $22.3 billion.

As per the revised levy on 29 products, duty on apples imported from the U.S. was to be hiked to 75 percent as against 50 percent earlier. The same for boric acid and phosphoric acid was to be hiked to 17.5 percent and 20 percent, respectively from 10 percent each earlier. Import duty on diagnostic reagents was to be doubled to 20 percent.

Levy on flat rolled products of iron was to be raised to 27.50 percent from 15 percent, while certain flat rolled products of stainless steel were to attract 22.50 percent duty as against 15 percent earlier.

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