Centre hopes US won’t hike duty on steel, aluminium

Centre hopes US won’t hike duty on steel, aluminium

NEW DELHI: The government is hopeful that the US will put off its plans to increase import duties on steel and aluminium products, amid demands from both sides to open their markets to boost exports.

The US is seen to be offering some concessions to Indian steel and aluminium exporters but has sought greater market access for its farm products, oil & gas, aviation and services, for which it is trying to strike a hard bargain.

In return, India has sought lower duties to export food and farm products, automobiles & auto parts and engineering goods, said sources.

Sources said apart from seeking an exemption from higher tariffs on aluminium and steel goods, the government is pushing for concessional levies on certain items under the US Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

As many as 3,500 Indian products from sectors such as chemicals and engineering, get duty-free access to the US market under the GSP, introduced in 1976, some of which have now been withdrawn.

According to the US Trade Representative (USTR), the GSP is a
trade preference programme designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.

While senior officials of India and the US concluded three days of negotiations after the government threatened retaliatory tariffs to counter Washington’s move, a fresh round of dialogue is scheduled for mid-July, three weeks before New Delhi plans to impose higher customs duties on 29 products including almonds, fresh apples and lentils. India is expected to hold back the tariffs if there is a positive response from the US.