India may again defer duty hike on US products till March 2, Auto News, ET Auto

India may again defer duty hike on US products till March 2, Auto News, ET Auto

New Delhi: The government may again defer the deadline to impose retaliatory customs duties on 29 US products, including almond, walnut and pulses, by another 30 days till March 2, an official said.

In December 2018, the government for the fourth time deferred the deadline till January 31.

“As discussions are going on between India and the US for a proposed trade package, the commerce ministry has asked its finance counterpart to again defer the implementation of the notification till March 2,” the official said.

The finance ministry is expected to issue a notification regarding this soon.

In June last year, India decided to impose retaliatory tariffs after the US imposed high customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.

As part of the imposition of higher import duties, New Delhi has notified higher tariffs on several products. While import duty on walnut is to be hiked to 120 per cent from 30 per cent currently, duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal will be raised to 70 per cent, from 30 per cent currently. Levy on lentils will be increased to 40 per cent, from 30 per cent.

Senior officials of India and the US are in discussions to finalise a kind of trade deal. Both sides are holding two track discussions — to increase trade in short and medium term, and identify long-term trade potentials.

India is pressing for exemption from high duty imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their generalised system of preferences (GSP), greater market access for its products from agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering sectors.

On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access through cut in import duties for its agriculture goods, dairy products, medical devices, IT and communication items.

India’s exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were USD 26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu is expected to hold bilateral discussions here on trade issues with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on February 14.

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