India imposes retaliatory tariffs on US, widening global trade war

22 June, 2018, 06:12 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • India has notified the WTO a revised list of 30 US imports on which it intends to impose retaliatory tariffs

In a tit-for-tat move, the government has raised customs duties on a slew of goods including lentils, Bengal gram, steel and iron imported from the United States.

India had sought to be exempt from the new US tariffs on steel and aluminum, arguing its exports were small in comparison with other countries', but got nowhere. India's decision to hike duties comes a day after the European Union said it would charge higher import duties on a range of USA products. Earlier, on 18 May, India had given the WTO a list of 20 items imported from the USA worth $166 million on which it was proposing to hike tariffs. The customs duty on chickpeas and Bengal gram have been hiked to 60 per cent. But, he said, the move could hurt India's economic growth as the country diversifies its exports, as well as prompt India "to re-look at USA relations as undependable". 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.

In the notification, there is no mention of duty hike on the motorcycle with engine capacity of over 800cc.

Shelled almonds imported from the United States will now attract import duty at '120/kg as against '100/kg earlier.

As per the notification, apples imported from the U.S. will attract the duty of 75 per cent as against 50 per cent earlier.


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. Similarly, the import duty of boric acid has been increased from 10 per cent to 17.5 per cent. The customs duty has also been hiked on Artemia, also known as brine shrimp, from 5 per cent to 15 per cent.

Deloitte India Partner M S Mani said that on several products such as pulses, the increase is very steep (30 per cent to 70 per cent).

Import duty on walnut in shell will attract customs at the rate of 120 per cent as against 30 per cent earlier.

On March 9, US President Donald Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war. It is a $241 million measure that matches the amount of steel and aluminum import duty expected to be collected from India by the United States through the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration earlier this year. Recently, Trump asked the US Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of imports to be targeted if China retaliates.

India is by far the largest buyer of USA almonds, purchasing over half of all US almond shipments in 2017. Bilateral trade rose to $115 billion in 2016, but the Trump administration wants to reduce its $31 billion deficit with India, and is pressing New Delhi to ease trade barriers.

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