India hikes tariffs on US products as trade tensions spread

Date: Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Source: Nikkei Asian Review

India has increased duties on a range of agricultural, iron and steel products imported from the U.S., in a tit-for-tat move after the Trump administration imposed higher tariffs on some Indian goods.

The increase -- which follows similar retaliatory moves by China and the European Union -- would come into effect on Aug. 4, according to an Indian Finance Ministry notification dated June 20.

The notification said that the import duty on chickpeas has been raised to 60%, and on lentils it has been increased to 30%. The Finance Ministry did not disclose current tariff levels. Other items drawing higher tariffs include artemia, which is a shrimp variety; apples; walnuts; boric acid; diagnostic reagents; and some iron and steel products.

The move was in retaliation to the recent tariff hike by U.S. President Donald Trump on steel and aluminum products which, the local PTI news agency reported, would have a $241 million tariff impact on India. The duty imposed by the U.S. has hit Indian steel exports by $198.6 million and aluminum shipments by $42.4 million.

India has also lodged a complaint against the U.S. at the World Trade Organization over the imposition of heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum products.

New Delhi's retaliatory move is another signal of potential trade war expanding beyond China and the EU.

After announcing a new 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods last Friday, Trump on Monday directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify another $200 billion of Chinese exports to be considered for tariffs of 10%. China has said it will retaliate with measures of "the same scale and intensity" on American goods.

The EU on Wednesday said it will impose import duties of 25% on a range of U.S. products starting Friday. Turkey's economy minister said on Friday the country will implement retaliatory tariffs worth $266.5 million against the U.S.

Many economists expect that if a full blown trade war breaks out, it will likely weigh on the global economy.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday said it had exempted some steel products from five countries -- including Japan and China -- from the U.S. global tariffs of 25% on steel imports, as certain types of steel cannot be supplied within the U.S.

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