Trump Declares Trade War On India, Imposes New Tariffs

Saturday, June 1, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
Sat, 06/01/2019

President Trump has a victory present for newly re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi – and it’s the economic equivalent of a flaming bag of feces left on India’s doorstep.

In his latest act of protectionist aggression in what has already been an action-packed week, Trump late Friday announced that his administration was terminating India’s designation as a developing nation under a trade program that allowed Indian exporters to ship 2,000 products into the US duty free. The decision to revoke India’s preferential trade status, which mirrors Trump’s decision to revoke Turkey’s status under the program a few weeks back, comes one day after Modi was sworn in for a second term.

Under the decades-old program – known as the Generalized System of Preferences – Indian companies were able to avoid some $5.7 billion in duties back in 2017.

The new standards will take effect June 5.

“I have determined that India has not assured the United States that India will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets,” Trump said in a proclamation on Friday evening. “Accordingly, it is appropriate to terminate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing country effective June 5, 2019.”

The decision isn’t unexpected: The White House warned back in March that it could end India’s preferential treatment if India didn’t agree to certain reforms, but it decided to hold off so as to not hurt Modi politically during the run up to the election. According to Bloomberg, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has become increasingly frustrated with India’s trade barriers and practices. The trade rep has taken issue with the country’s self-designation as a developing nation at the World Trade Organization.

The White House’s Friday proclamation also imposes tariffs on solar cells and washing machines from India and Turkey. Those tariffs had been imposed by Trump in 2018, but India and Turkey had been exempt because of their status as developing nations under the GSP.

One critic of Trump’s decision warned that ending the designation for India would cost American businesses hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Dan Anthony, executive director of the Coalition for GSP, a trade group, said that the decision “will cost American businesses over $300 million in additional tariffs every year.”

“There are no winners from today’s decision,” Anthony said in a statement.

“American importers will pay more, while some American exporters will continue to face current market access barriers in India and others, including farmers, are very likely to be subject to new retaliatory tariffs.”

The Rest…HERE

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