US President Trump wants India to withdraw recently hiked tariffs
President Trump was probably referring to retaliatory tariffs the Modi government imposed on American goods recently after the US terminated India’s special trade privileges under a zero-tariff programme, called the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), for denying US companies more access to Indian markets.Updated: Jun 27, 2019 20:40 IST
Taking aim at India once again, this time ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that India had imposed high tariffs on American goods recently and that is “unacceptable” and “must be withdrawn”.
President Trump is scheduled to meet PM Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan on Friday.
Referring to that meeting, Trump wrote on Twitter, “I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the tariffs must be withdrawn!”
He did not specify but he was probably referring to retaliatory tariffs the Modi government imposed on American goods recently after the United States terminated India’s special trade privileges under a zero-tariff programme, called the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), for denying US companies more access to Indian markets.
India had proposed these retaliatory tariffs in response to President Trump’s levies on steel and aluminum goods from all of America’s suppliers in 2018, but had held on to them in the hope of finding a solution to their outstanding trade issue. Talks had been on, but the Trump administration announced GSP termination just days after Prime Minister Modi began his second term.
There has been speculation that the United States has been mulling other trade actions against India as well.
Trade and tariff issues were discussed during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meetings during his India visit earlier in the week and the two sides had agreed to keep talking. External affairs minister S Jaishankar said, “We need to take a constructive and pragmatic view of issues relating to trade. The real test of our intentions is our ability to address them effectively.”
But President Trump has pushed trade aggressively with all of America’s trading partners, and he now intends to bring it up with the Prime Minister at their upcoming meeting, which will be their first after the Indian leader’s re-election.
Ahead of the US president’s departure for Japan and the subsequent tweet, a senior administrative official said the two leaders “are expected to discuss their strategic partnership and how best to advance that relationship to the next level”.
Trade could dominate that conversation, it appears.
First Published: Jun 27, 2019 20:40 IST