India had asked the US government to exempt it from its 25% steel tariff and 10% aluminium tariff imposed by US President Donald Trump on grounds of national security.
India joined the European Union and other US trading partners in retaliating against the Trump administration's tariff hikes on steel and aluminum Thursday by raising import duties on a variety of goods, including almonds, apples and some metal products.
The government on Thursday opted to wait for six weeks to impose additional duties on close to 29 American goods to counter the impact of higher levies on steel and aluminium exports, hoping that the USA administration will come good on its promise to address India's concerns. It told the WTO that it has decided these additional duties in a way that it would help the government earn an additional $241 million.
While the retaliatory tariffs could have come into effect immediately, India seems to have given some more time to the US-given the upcoming negotiations for a "trade package" with the US. "To this end, India reserves the right to adjust the specific products for which suspension of concessions is effectuated, and its right to adjust the additional rate of duty imposed on such products", India said.
Deloitte India Partner M S Mani said that on several products such as pulses, the increase is very steep (30 per cent to 70 per cent).
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It also gave a list of products to the WTO that it said could incur higher tariffs. This measure was targeted at Harley-Davidson motorcycles. India's exports to the United States in 2016-17 stood at Dollars 42.21 billion, while imports were USD 22.3 billion.
In February, India had slashed customs on imported high-end motorcycles like Harley Davidson to 50 per cent but the move had failed to please Mr Trump, who wanted it to be slashed to zero. I am hopeful that all of this (trade war) will die down. In 2017, India imported motorcycles (over 800 cc) worth $10.6 million.
Import duty on diagnostic reagents has been doubled to 20 per cent, while binders for foundry moulds has been hiked to 17.5 per cent. Assistant US trade representative (USTR) Mark Linscott is likely to visit India in the last week of June to begin the negotiations.
Walnuts have gone from 100 percent duty to 120 percent, the government note said. Almonds in shell will attract import duty at the rate of '42/kg as against '35/kg.
The second biggest impact will involve fresh apples. The duty increase by India would have equal tariff implications for the US. The additional duty this will bring is estimated at $24.14 million.
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