Indian steel minister: Steel industry should not be “jittery” over US withdrawal of GSP benefits

Wednesday, 06 March 2019 11:20:28 (GMT+3)   |   Kolkata
       

The Indian steel industry “should not feel jittery” over the US’ intention of withdrawing  benefits under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) for India and Turkey, Indian steel minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh said on Wednesday, March 6. Sources said that the Indian government is working on ‘an appropriate response” and that there is still time to work out ‘retaliatory measures’ as formal withdrawal of GSP benefits will kick in only after 60 days.

The sources acknowledged that, based on the products exported to the US, steel-based engineering product exports to the US are most likely to be hit by the withdrawal of GSP benefits although Indian commerce secretary Anup Wadhawan on Tuesday stated, “The GSP benefits in absolute sense and the percentage of trade involved would be minimal.” He added, “India exported goods worth $5.6 billion under GSP to the US last year and our total GSP benefit was to the tune of only $190 million.”

However, sources said that a section within the Ministry of Commerce is backing a firm stand against the US proposal and indicted that the ministry is also considering the imposition of higher tariffs on 29 goods imported from the US with effect from April 1, 2019.

The sources said that the proposal to hike import duties on these 29 product categories was first mooted when the US introduced the Section 232 tariffs, but was kept in abeyance to give bilateral negotiations a chance to succeed. However, with the US government stepping up trade aggression, the Indian government is considering bringing forward and giving effect to higher tariffs in goods imported from the US, the sources added.


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