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Scrapping India’s GSP could hit US consumers

Updated April 14, 2019

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If US President Donald Trump presses ahead with his plan to end GSP status for India, it could raise the prospect of retaliatory tariffs. ─ AP/File
If US President Donald Trump presses ahead with his plan to end GSP status for India, it could raise the prospect of retaliatory tariffs. ─ AP/File

NEW DELHI: A US plan to end preferential duty-free imports of up to $5.6 billion from India could raise costs for American consumers, two US senators have told their country’s trade office, urging a delay in adopting the plan, and seeking more negotiations.

If President Donald Trump presses ahead with his plan to end the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for India, it could lose the status in early May, Indian officials have said, raising the prospect of retaliatory tariffs.

India is the world’s largest beneficiary of the GSP, dating from the 1970s, but trade ties with the US have widened over what Trump calls its high tariffs and concerns over New Delhi’s e-commerce policies.

“While we agree that there are a number of market access issues that can and should be addressed, we do remain concerned that the withdrawal of duty concessions will make Indian exports of eligible products to the United States costlier,” the senators, John Cornyn and Mark Warner, wrote.

In their Friday letter, the co-chairs of the Senate’s India caucus of more than 30 senators called for withdrawal to be delayed until the end of India’s 39-day general elections, which began on Thursday.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2019