USA-India trade war takes a new turn: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lashes out in New Delhi

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During his visit to New Delhi this week, U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lashed out at the Modi-led government for its “overly restrictive market access barriers” and unfair trade practices reported The Hindu.

Addressing a conference of American and Indian businessmen and dignitaries, US Commerce Secretary Ross repeated the same arguments raised by US President Donald Trump earlier with regards to India’s unfair trade restrictions and despite enjoying the position of USA’s largest exporter, India continues to be USA’s 13th largest importer due to the high tariffs and duties imposed by New Delhi.

The strife did not end at Mr. Ross Wilbur’s angry remarks in New Delhi, but in fact, the United States of America undertook certain measures that have impacted India a great deal.

New Delhi can no longer dismiss the reality of its trade differences with Washington, and Mr. Wilbur Ross, during the Trade Winds conference, made it clear that the USA is not satisfied with India’s efforts to eliminate this “imbalance”. He noted that while India fulfills its developmental needs with American technology and expertise, US firms and manufacturers have to face “significant market access barriers in India”.

US Commerce Secretary noted, “These include both tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as multiple practices and regulations that disadvantage foreign companies. India’s average applied tariff rate of 13.8% remains the highest of any major world economy.

Mr. Wilbur Ross went onto lament India’s high tariffs, and he counted the 60% tariff on automobiles, 50% on motorcycles, and 150% on alcoholic beverages.” Ross raised the same issue voiced by President Donald Trump, “These are not justified percentages. They are way too high”.

Read more: Not threatened by US-India ties:PM

USA Takes Action against India’s Unfair Trade Practices

The strife did not end at Mr. Ross Wilbur’s angry remarks in New Delhi, but in fact, the United States of America undertook certain measures that have impacted India a great deal. These measures include denying India waivers in tariff increases imposed on steel and aluminum last year, which were imposed after an ultimatum to “zero out” all oil imports from Iran. A decision has been made to withdraw India’s preferential trade status, as per the General System of Preferences.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stressed upon the remarks made by US President Trump, accusing India of being a “tariff king” and threatening New Delhi with serious consequences if it chooses to respond to the tariffs imposed by the counter-tariffs that New Delhi had threatened to impose. After several rounds of trade dialogue, India and New Delhi have failed to come to a conclusion on a trade package that could eliminate these grievances.

Read more India’s endorsement of US led regional order

The US now appears to be more aggressive than ever with regards to its stance on India’s prolonged exploitation of US manufacturers and suppliers, it is evident that the new government that is ushered in after the Indian elections will have to come up with a new strategy to put an end to the trade war with US. While New Delhi argues that the average tariffs imposed by India, around 13.8%, are not as high as compared to those imposed by Brazil and South Korea.

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