US complains against India at WTO over customs duty hike on 28 American goods

WION Web Team
Geneva, Switzerland Published: Jul 05, 2019, 08:53 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The US in its filing to the WTO said that the additional duties imposed by India ' appear to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to the US directly or indirectly' under the GATT 1994

The United States on Thursday complained to the World Trade Organisation(WTO) over India's move to impose customs duties on 28 American goods.

Last month the Indian government had announced a hike in customs duties on US goods ranging from almond, pulses and walnut after the Trump administration had imposed tariffs on Indian steel and aluminium. India exports steel and aluminium products worth about $1.5 billion to the US every year.

The Indian government's move according to the Central Board of Indirect taxes and Customs (CBIC) was meant as a "retaliatory duties on 28 specified goods originating in or exported from USA."

Earlier, the list included 29 goods but India has removed artemia, a kind of shrimp, from the list. Although India had waited for a long time in the hope to strike a deal directly with the US administration and was almost the last country to impose "retaliatory duties", it did so after the US later withdrew export incentives to Indian exporters under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme.

India had hiked walnut customs duties to 120 per cent from 30 per cent, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal were raised to 70 per cent from 30 per cent. 

The US in its filing to the WTO said that the additional duties imposed by India "appear to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to the US directly or indirectly" under the GATT 1994.

World Trade Organisation (WTO) quoting the US complaint said: "India also appears to be applying rates of duty to US imports greater than the rates of duty set out in India's schedule of concessions."

In its complaint, the US said: "India fails to extend to products of the US an advantage, favour, privilege or immunity granted by India with respect to customs duties and charges of any kind imposed on or in connection with the importation of products originating in the territory of other members."

The US in March last year had imposed 25 per cent tariff on Indian steel and a 10 per cent import duty on aluminium products. Earlier, there was no duty on these goods.

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