India-US commerce ties hit underneath Trump: Congressional report


Washington, January 4

Under the Trump administration, US-India tensions have increased over each side’s tariff policies, a Congressional report has said, noting that the two sides have also held concerted negotiations to address these trade frictions.

The bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), in its latest report, pointed out that India’s recent tariff hikes on cell phones and other telecommunication goods went up from zero per cent to 15-20 per cent in the past few years. “Under the Trump administration, bilateral tensions increased over each side’s tariff policies. In general, India has relatively high average tariff rates, especially in agriculture. It can raise its applied rates to bound rates without violating its commitments under the WTO (World Trade Organisation), causing uncertainty for US exporters,” said the CRS report, which is prepared for the members of Congress ahead of trade decisions.

The United States and several other countries have requested to join various WTO dispute consultations against India, related to its technology tariffs, also questioning its compliance with the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA).

“India opposes the 25 per cent steel and 10 per cent aluminum national security-based ‘Section 232’ tariffs that the Trump administration imposed in 2018. India repeatedly delayed applying planned retaliatory tariffs against the United States in hopes of resolving the issues bilaterally,” it said.

After India lost its eligibility for the US Trade Preference Programme, it imposed higher tariffs of 10 per cent to 25 per cent, affecting about $1.32 billion of US exports, such as nuts, apples, chemicals, and steel, the report stated, adding that the two sides are challenging each other’s tariffs in the WTO. — PTI


‘Tension flared’

  • The bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), in its latest report, pointed out that India’s recent tariff hikes on cell phones and other telecommunication goods went up from zero per cent to 15-20 per cent in the past few years.
  • “Under the Trump administration, bilateral tensions increased over each side’s tariff policies. In general, India has relatively high average tariff rates, especially in agriculture.



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