After Make in India, Atmanirbhar Bharat challenge to trade ties: US

  • Last month, the US Trade Representative (USTR)’s office had cited the “Make in India” programme as an impediment for import of its products into India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AP)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AP)
Updated on Apr 02, 2021 04:47 AM IST
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By Yashwant Raj, Washington

The Biden administration on Wednesday listed India’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-sufficiency campaign, which was launched to help the country deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, among “significant” trade barriers American businesses face around the world.

Last month, the US Trade Representative (USTR)’s office had cited the “Make in India” programme as an impediment for import of its products into India.

“US exporters continue to encounter significant tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede imports of US products into India. While the Indian Government has pursued ongoing economic reform efforts, it also continues to promote programs such as ‘Make in India’ that favour domestic production over importation,” the office of USTR said in its National Trade Estimate Report for 2021.

“Additionally in May 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the ‘Self-Reliant India’ (Atmanirbhar Bharat) initiative to increase self-sufficiency by promoting domestic industry and reducing reliance on foreign suppliers,” the report said, adding the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative to US’ growing list of trade issues with India.

While it was launched to bolster India’s efforts to deal with the economic crisis wrecked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ plan soon came to be seen as a potent weapon against the Chinese after the skirmishes along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh last year. The boycott of Chinese goods and apps had also found resonance here with the administration of former president Donald Trump.

In 2020, India was America’s largest trading partner.

The trade representative’s report mentioned in detail US’s trade issues with India, including those that have defied resolution for years such as high tariffs, US’ access to India’s dairy market which is said to be one of the largest in the world, price control on medical devices such as heart stents and knee implant. The USTR report came on a day President Joe Biden announced a multi-trillion-dollar American Jobs Plan to revitalize the country’s economy.

Government officials in New Delhi were not immediately available for a comment.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021