In Tit-For-Tat, India Hikes Import Duties On US Agri Products

India slaps higher import duties on steel agri products in retaliation to US tariff hikes

India on Thursday notified that its retaliatory tariff against 30 United States products worth $240 million will come into effect starting 4 August to counter Trump administration's move to unilaterally hike duties on Indian steel and aluminium exports. On Thursday, the revenue department notified the new tariffs on 30 products, effective August 4, for goods originating from the US.

India finalized its decision during a week when the global trade war escalated, with the United States enacting $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods and the European Union imposing $3 billion in levies on such products as USA -made bourbon, peanut butter and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Last week, India had submitted to the WTO a revised list of 30 items on which it proposed to raise customs duties by up to 50 per cent.

The import duty on chickpeas and Bengal gram has been increased to 60 per cent, while that on lentils has been hiked to 30 per cent.

An official from the steel ministry said at the time that the new tariffs were meant to show displeasure at the us action.

With the higher customs duty coming into effect from August 4, this would give ample time to the United States to take a considered view on all the contentious bilateral trade issues with India.

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In the notification, there is no mention of duty hike on the motorcycle with engine capacity of over 800cc. Almonds in shell will attract import duty at the rate of '42/kg as against '35/kg. A kilogram of shelled almonds will attract duty of as much as 120 rupees ($1.76) instead of the current 100 rupees, the Commerce Ministry said. Shelled almonds imported from the USA will attract import duty at Rs 120 a kg from August 4, compared to Rs 100 a kg at present, while the import duty on almonds in shell is to be increased from Rs 35 a kg to Rs 42. Duty on Artemia, a kind of shrimp, has been raised to 30 per cent.

Earlier this year, Trump called out India for its duties on Harley-Davidson motorbikes, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to cut the import duty to 50 percent from 75 percent for the high-end bikes.

The duty on boric acid and binders for foundry moulds has been hiked to 7.5 per cent, while that on domestic reagents was raised to 10 per cent.

Wednesday's action follows the government's notification to the World Trade Organisation last week, saying that it was imposing tariffs amounting to $240 million in retaliation to the USA action on steel and aluminium.

Trade differences between India and the United States have been rising since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. More than a third of the figure comes from almonds; India is the world's biggest buyer of usa -grown almonds.

India's exports to the U.S. in 2016-17 stood at Dollars 42.21 billion, while imports were USD 22.3 billion. Recently, Trump asked the US Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of imports to be targeted if China retaliates.

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