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Govt planning to scrap export incentives to allay US concerns

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly singled out India, apart from China, for running a trade surplus. The US has also placed India on its watch-list of currency manipulators.

business Updated: May 31, 2018 16:10 IST
India exports,India export policy,India US trade
India’s trade surplus --merchandise and services-- with the US stood at $28 billion in 2017--marginally lower than the $30.8 billion in 2016.(AP Photo)

India is planning to scrap financial incentives aimed at boosting exports of certain products after the US complained to the world trade body, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Instead, Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to replace the incentives with support to regions that are known to be export-intensive, a practice that is followed by several countries and are compliant with global rules, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is not public. The subsidy payments will be available to all producers in these clusters and won’t be exclusive to exporters.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly singled out India, apart from China, for running a trade surplus. Besides complaining to the World Trade Organization that India’s export subsidies were hurting American companies, the US has also put India on its watch-list for currency manipulators--triggered by a trade surplus and foreign exchange interventions.

The government has been looking to boost its exports which have been through a rough patch, widening the country’s trade deficit. At the same time, the South Asian nation is wary of upsetting ties with Washington, which have grown much closer in the past two decades with the US emerging as a key defence supplier, in part due to its strategic concerns about China’s growing influence in Asia.

Trade surplus --merchandise and services-- with the US stood at $28 billion in 2017--marginally lower than the $30.8 billion in 2016. Commerce Ministry spokesman was not immediately available for a comment.

India has told the US its actions don’t mean to distort trade. Under the new plan which is expected to be rolled out in the next two months, options include refund of taxes paid on inputs used in manufacturing, incentives to sectors in certain regions and those providing a certain number of jobs.

First Published: May 31, 2018 16:10 IST