Govt again extends deadline to impose retaliatory import duties on US products till June 16

The government has once again extended its deadline to impose retaliatory import duties on as many as 29 US products, including almond, walnut and pulses, till June 16, 2019. The previous extension will end on May 16. The commerce ministry has asked its finance counterpart to issue a notification with regard to further extension of the deadline. The extension has been made several times since June 2018, when India decided to impose these duties in retaliation to a move by the US to impose high customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.

This extension comes in the backdrop of the US decision to withdraw export incentives being provided to Indian exporters under Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, which is expected to impact India's exports to the US worth $5.6 billion under this scheme. Further extension of GSP benefits was part of a trade package being negotiated between the two countries. However, those negotiations hit a roadblock after the US announced its decision to roll back GSP benefits from Indian exporters.

India wants US to exempt them from the high duty imposed on certain steel and aluminium products, provide greater market access for agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering sector products. On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access through a 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 $47.9 billion, while imports were at $26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.