India set to raise tariffs on some US goods

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India has decided to raise tariffs on imports of 29 goods from the US after having deferred the move several times since announcing it last year, media reported Saturday.

The government had said last June it would raise import taxes on a slew of US goods including almonds and apples, apparently irked by Washington’s refusal to exempt New Delhi from higher steel and aluminium tariffs.

But it delayed raising tariffs several times as trade talks between the world’s two biggest democracies raised hopes of a resolution.

However President Donald Trump’s decision to strip New Delhi of its preferential trade status earlier this month appears to have triggered the latest Indian move.

There would be no further delays in imposing the retaliatory tariffs, the Economic Times reported, quoting a government official, with the new taxes due to take effect from Sunday.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the finance ministry would make a formal announcement soon, although it had already conveyed its decision to the United States.

The trade tensions come despite Washington’s effort to boost ties with India as a counterweight to China and Trump’s stated good relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Trump and Modi are set to meet at the G20 summit on June 28-29 in Osaka where the sticky trade issue is likely to be taken up.

It is also likely to figure during talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is set to visit India for talks later this month.

On Wednesday Pompeo had said the US was open to dialogue with India and would “broach some tough topics.”

US goods and services trade with India stood at an estimated $142.1 billion in 2018. The US trade deficit with India was $24.2 billion, according to official data.

Washington is already engaged in a full-blown trade war with India’s regional rival China.

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