India could soon become the next target of President Donald Trump’s aggressive policy as the administration gets ready to use tariffs and other sticks to bend or break global trading partners.
Already, the U.S. has put India on notice by getting ready to expel it from a special program that reduces tariffs on a range of imports from developing countries. The next step is expected to be launching a full-blown investigation into India’s practices, just as the U.S. did with China last year.
The move comes despite President Donald Trump’s warm embrace (in some cases, literally) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has just emerged from a national election with a stronger grasp on power.
“The challenge is you have both administrations taking a fairly strong stance,” said Nisha Biswal, president of the U.S.-India Business Council. “Whether there is space to negotiate some compromises is an open question.”
The U.S. has blamed India for blocking access for American exports ranging from dairy products to medical devices, as well as raising tariffs on tech products. On March 4, Trump began steps to terminate the country’s long-time trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences program — a system that waives U.S. import duties on thousands of goods.
India has made at least two offers, one as recently as this month, to try to address U.S. complaints, but the administration has rejected them as inadequate.
“The decision may come despite improved market access offers from India in recent weeks — [the office of the U.S. Trade Representative] apparently has no interest in negotiating,” said an industry source close to issue.
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