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India no longer a part of US trade preference list

The United States recently asserted its intention to sack India from its trade preference list. The latter will no longer be a beneficiary of the US Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) duty concession programme, as it has reportedly been unable to provide assurances that the country will provide the US “equitable and reasonable” access to its markets in diverse sectors.

As per the India’s Commerce Ministry, more than 1,900 products from the country, including raw materials and intermediaries from different sectors are likely to be impacted with the withdrawal of the GSP benefits.

“The GSP benefits are relatively limited and to that extent, any understanding that is reached would need to keep that in mind. Whatever package is worked out (with the US) needs to be commensurate with that value,” said Indian commerce secretary Anup Wadhwan.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) said,“At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced today that the United States intends to terminate India’s and Turkey’s designations as beneficiary developing countries under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program because they no longer comply with the statutory eligibility criteria….India’s termination from GSP follows its failure to provide the United States with assurances that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors.”

Anup Wadhwan highlighted the efforts of the Indian government to strike a ‘balance’ on the issues raised by the US, along with ensuring the welfare of its citizens. “We were able to work out an extensive and reasonable package that covered all US concerns… We will not compromise on the issue of affordability (of medical devices like stents),” he said.

Talking about the implementation of retaliatory tariffs on products like steel, he stated that the government will continue engagining in “internal” discussions. “The door for discussions (with the US) is always open,” he added.

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