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India says no will to engage in trade war with US

India’s commerce secretary Rita Teaotia said the use of trade remedies under WTO is an ongoing process and she doesn’t see both countries escalating the situation to a trade war.

business Updated: Mar 16, 2018 10:32 IST
Asit Ranjan Mishra
Asit Ranjan Mishra
Livemint, New Delhi
India export duties,WTO,US
India provides exemptions from certain duties, taxes and fees that benefit numerous Indian exporters, including producers of steel products.(AFP Photo)

India struck a conciliatory tone, and ruled out a full-blown trade war with the US after the Donald Trump administration on Wednesday night launched a trade dispute against India by filing a complaint about the country’s export subsidy programmes at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), days after threatening Indian exports with reciprocal taxes.

India’s commerce secretary Rita Teaotia said the use of trade remedies under WTO is an ongoing process and she doesn’t see both countries escalating the situation to a trade war. “I believe we both have very significant interest in each others markets. We are friendly countries. We wish to engage with each other and certainly wish to do business with each other,” she said.

The programmes challenged by US include almost all of India’s export subsidy programme including Merchandise Exports from India Scheme; Export Oriented Units Scheme and sector specific schemes, including Electronics Hardware Technology Parks Scheme; Special Economic Zones; Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme; and a duty-free imports scheme for exporters.

According to a notification by the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures last year, India’s gross national income (GNI) crossed the $1,000 mark for three consecutive years in 2015. Teaotia said like other developing countries whose GNI went above $1000 mark and who got eight years to phase out export subsidies when the agreement came into force, it deserves to get eight years. “We will engage in consultation with US and place our position within the 60 days. We hope they will understand our position,” she added.

First Published: Mar 15, 2018 18:19 IST