Trump targets India and Turkey in trade crackdown


Acceptability of USA market access requests related to products like alfalfa hay, cherries and pork was conveyed. "But this is on hold now", the official said. "The customs duties themselves, you're talking about a couple hundred million bucks, maximum".

According to the USTR, in 2017, India was the United States' ninth largest goods trading partner. India has also been removed from the list which provides tariff-free entry for some goods. "GSP also boosts American competitiveness by reducing costs of imported inputs used by USA companies to manufacture goods in the United States". This is something the Modi government can not afford as it heads for the crucial Lok Sabha elections over the next two months.

Needling India on trade will have a "corrosive effect" on Modi's views of the USA and fits a pattern of Trump's focus on narrow trade grievances at the expense of broader strategic concerns, according to John Blaxland, head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University.

"The government should look into providing fiscal support to such sectors so that exporters reduce their export prices factoring in the fiscal support with a view that the landed price of such products remains more or less what was under the GSP regime", Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president Ganesh Kumar Gupta said. The benefits amount to a gain of around $200 million for India.

India said it did not plan to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, saying the preferential terms bring "actual benefit" of just $250m a year.

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On Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that India and Turkey would lose their GSP status within 60 days.

Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said despite the fact that India was working on an "extensive and reasonable" trade package, the United States has chose to go ahead with its decision to scrap the preferential trade benefit after 60 days.

Elaborating the demands of the U.S. on medical devices and dairy products, he said India is willing to find a reasonable solution but that has to balance with the country's non-negotiable public health concerns and requirements.

Turkey's trade minister slammed the decision, saying it would only harm American small- and medium-sized enterprises and manufacturers by raising costs. "I hope this does not disrupt positive areas of cooperation, like defence".

"I will continue to assess whether the Government of India is providing equitable and reasonable access to its markets, in accordance with the GSP eligibility criteria", he said.

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Specifically, it said India had implemented trade barriers that have negatively impacted the United States, and it has not taken measures to fix it.

The U.S. decision follows a review process of India's GSP status-alongside those of Indonesia and Kazakhstan-that the USTR's office undertook in April 2018.

Trade official Anup Wadhawan said on Tuesday the two countries had been working on a trade package to address each other's concerns.

Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan tweeted that Turkey will nevertheless press ahead with efforts to increase trade, calling the USA a "strategic partner". But that may change now.

"I do think the [Narendra] Modi government does very much understand that the Trump administration is not likely to back down from a trade fight", said Rossow.

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