U.S. lawmakers urge Trump administration to restore India’s trade privileges



Neha Dasgupta | Reuters

Forty-four members of the U.S. Congress have urged President Donald Trump’s trade representative to restore trade concessions to India, saying the withdrawal of the privilege had led to retaliatory tariffs from New Delhi which were hurting U.S. industry.

In June, the United States ended its preferential trade treatment for India, removing it from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program that allowed duty-free entry for up to $5.6 billion worth of its annual exports to the United States.

The elimination of GSP brought higher retaliatory tariffs from New Delhi on 28 U.S. products including almonds, apples and walnuts.

In the letter addressed to United State Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and dated Sept. 17, the members of Congress said: “Just as U.S. industries are harmed by lack of fair and reciprocal access to India’s market, American companies and workers also are harmed by new tariffs due to the GSP termination.”

After the Trump administration’s decision to remove trade privileges from Indian products under the GSP, U.S. and Indian trade negotiators met in July. But they failed to make any major progress on the issue of tariffs and other protectionist measures imposed by both sides.