July 10, 2020, 19:42

Indian PM Modi Declines Trump’s Demand to Withdraw Retaliatory Tariffs on US Goods

Indian PM Modi Declines Trump’s Demand to Withdraw Retaliatory Tariffs on US Goods

The Modi government had imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 American goods after Trump removed India, in early June, from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, which gives duty-free access to the US for products made in developing nations.

New Delhi (Sputnik): In response to US President Trump’s demand that India withdraw the retaliatory tariffs it placed on 28 US goods on 16 June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested on Friday that he look beyond the steps that have been already taken, including the retaliatory tariffs that New Delhi imposed earlier in the month.

Modi said that the two countries should look forward now and try to resolve some of these issues.

“The Prime Minister did mention, in particular, that we had taken some action after the GSP was revoked. That was something that had already happened and we should look forward and see how we can resolve some of these issues,” Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in a media briefing after the Modi-Trump meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

On Thursday, about 24 hours ahead of the bilateral meeting, the US President tweeted he was looking forward to talking to India’s prime minister about a recent increase in its already-high tariffs on US goods. “This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!” Trump added.

Indian Foreign Secretary Gokhale said both sides expressed their concerns about the interests of the other side. “What was agreed was that the trade ministers of both countries would meet at an early date and try to sort out these issues.”

The Indian side claimed that Trump welcomed this idea “of an early meeting” but first the two countries will have to decide whether the meeting will take place at the commerce secretary level or at technical level.

At the beginning of the bilateral meeting, Trump claimed that “we are going to have some very big things to announce. Very big trade deal. We are doing big things with India in terms of trade, in terms of manufacturing,” Fox television reported.

Nevertheless, the Indian foreign secretary claimed it was a “very open and productive discussion” and no one issue will have impact on “our strategic relations”.

India was the largest beneficiary of the GSP programme in 2017, with $5.7 billion in exports to the US given duty-free status. India’s top exports to the US under the GSP in 2017 included motor vehicle parts, ferro alloys, precious metal jewellery, building stone, insulated cables, leather products, garments (marginal) and wires.

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