Almonds, apples and walnuts: India to impose retaliatory tariffs on US goods
A man holds the flags of India and the U.S. while people take part in the 35th India Day Parade in New York August 16, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo
The new duties take effect from Sunday, a government notification said, in the latest trade row since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in 2017 vowing to act against countries with which Washington has a large trade deficit.
From Jun 5, President Trump scrapped trade privileges under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for India, the biggest beneficiary of a scheme that allowed duty-free exports of up to US$5.6 billion.
India termed that "unfortunate" and vowed to uphold its national interests.
Reuters previously reported India was preparing to levy higher tariffs ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first meeting with Trump on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Japan on Jun 28 and 29.
India initially issued an order in June last year to raise import taxes as high as 120per cent on a slew of U.S. items, incensed by Washington's refusal to exempt it from higher steel and aluminum tariffs.
But New Delhi repeatedly delayed raising tariffs as the two nations engaged in trade talks. Trade between them stood at about US$142.1 billion in 2018.
India on Saturday amended its previous order "to implement the imposition of retaliatory duties on 28 specified goods originating in or exported from USA" while preserving the existing rate for these goods for all other countries, the government notification said.
Higher Indian tariffs on U.S. goods could impact growing political and security ties between the two nations.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is expected to visit India this month, said this week the United States was open to dialogue to resolve trade differences with India, through greater access for American companies to its markets.
India is by far the largest buyer of U.S. almonds, paying US$543 million for more than half of U.S. almond exports in 2018, U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows. It is the second largest buyer of U.S. apples, taking US$156 million worth in 2018.
New Delhi's new rules in areas such as e-commerce and data localization have already angered the United States and hit companies such as Amazon.com, Walmart Inc, Mastercard and Visa, among others./.