Nuts sit on display at wholesale store near Mangaldas Market in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Extends Retaliatory Tariff Deadline On U.S. Products To June 16

The government extended its deadline to impose retaliatory import duties on 29 U.S. products, including almond, walnut and pulses, till June 16.

A notification of the finance ministry said that the implementation of increased customs duty on specified imports originating in the U.S. have been postponed from May 16 to June 16.

These deadlines were extended several times since June 2018, when India decided to impose these duties in retaliation to a move by the U.S. to impose high customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.

This extension comes in the backdrop of the U.S. decision to withdraw export incentives being provided to Indian exporters under Generalised System of Preferences programme, which is expected to impact India's exports to the U.S. worth $5.6 billion under this scheme.

America had given 60 days notice, which ended on May 2 but has yet to withdraw those benefits.

Meanwhile, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu held bilateral meetings on May 6 in New Delhi to discuss trade-related issues.

Further extension of GSP benefits was part of a trade package being negotiated between the two countries. However, those negotiations hit a roadblock after the U.S. announced its decision to roll back GSP benefits from Indian exporters.

The U.S. administration has alleged that India in imposing high import duties on products such as paper and Harley Davidson motorcycles from America.

India wants U.S. to exempt them from the high duty imposed on certain steel and aluminium products, provide greater market access for agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering sector products.

On the other hand, the U.S. is demanding greater market access through a cut in import duties for its agriculture goods, dairy products, medical devices, IT and communication items.

As part of the imposition of higher import duties, India has notified higher tariffs on several products. While import duty on walnut has been hiked to 120 percent from 30 percent, duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal will be raised to 70 percent, from 30 percent currently. Levy on lentils will be increased to 40per cent.

India's exports to the U.S. in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion, while imports were at $26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.

Also read: Suresh Prabhu, Wilbur Ross Discuss E-Commerce Policy And Data Localisation In Meet