India Blinks for Ninth Time, Extends Retaliatory Tariff on US Products till June 16

As Washington delays GSP decision, New Delhi is looking at pushing back tariffs by a month

The government on Tuesday extended the deadline to impose retaliatory import tariffs on 29 US products till June 16.

A Finance Ministry notification said the duties, which were to come into effect from May 16, have been postponed by a month.

The move comes as New Delhi hopes to sort out trade issues with Washington after the general elections are over and a new government is in place. The duties, which were to come into effect from May 16, are now likely to be applicable from mid-June.

The Finance Ministry had issued a notification earlier this month postponing the date of imposing retaliatory duties on the US from May 2 to May 16.

India had announced retaliatory tariffs worth $230 million on about 29 American goods in June last year in response to imposition of penal tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium from the country by the US.

 “The US was supposed to withdraw the GSP in the beginning of May. Since it did not happen, India postponed the retaliatory duty till May 16 hoping that it would be clear by then what was playing on the US’ mind. During US Secretary for Commerce Wilbur Ross’ visit last week, it became clear that Washington did not want to withdraw the GSP scheme till it gave an opportunity to the new government formed after the general elections to sort out its concerns. That is why India is planning to postpone the retaliatory duties till the mid of next month,” the official explained.

While the US seems to be dilly-dallying on GSP withdrawal, it has not given any indication yet on whether it was willing to take back the penal duties imposed on Indian steel and aluminium.

The US wants India to address the price cap issue for medical devices, provide greater market access for dairy and agricultural products and also reduce high import tariffs for mobile phones.

In 2018, bilateral trade in goods and services registered a growth of 12.6 per cent to $142 billion, from $126 billion in 2017.


[Notification No. 15/2019-Customs dated 14 May 2019]

Seeks to further amend notification No. 50/2017-customs dated 30th June 2017 to postpone the implementation of increased customs duty on specified imports originating in USA from 16th May, 2019 to 16th June, 2019.

In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 25 of  the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962) and sub-section (12) of section 3 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (51 of 1975), the Central Government, being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest so to do, hereby makes the following further amendments in the notification of the Government of India, Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), No. 50/2017-Customs, dated the 30th June, 2017, published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (i), vide, number G.S.R. 785(E), dated the 30th June, 2017, namely:-

In the said notification, in the third proviso for the words and figures “16th day of May, 2019”, the words and figures “16th day of June, 2019shall be substituted.

[F. No. 341/15/2018- TRU]