President Donald Trump on Saturday terminated the United States preferential trade programme with India. According to a White House proclamation, the trade preference programme with India will be terminated from June 5, 2019.
With this, the United States has ended India’s designation as the beneficiary developing country under the key GSP trade programme. The programme allows emerging countries to export goods to the United States without paying duties.
Donald Trump in March had announced his intention to remove India from the decades-old Generalized System of Preferences program over what the United States said was lack of access to India’s market.
Trump said in a statement on Friday, “I have determined that India has not assured the US that India will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”
On Friday, a senior State Department official had said that the suspension of a US trade preference programme with India is a “done deal. He, however, also said that the benefits of preferential trade programme could be restored if India gave US companies fair and equitable access to its markets.
“We believe if India is prepared to address policies, including data localization, e-commerce measures that served to stifle international investment for top-tier companies, that we can continue to make significant progress moving forward,” the official added.
India is the biggest beneficiary of the GSP, which allows preferential duty-free imports of up to $5.6 billion from the South Asian nation. Indian officials have raised the prospect of higher import duties on more than 20 U.S. goods if Trump drops India from the program.
Twenty-four members of the US Congress sent the administration a letter on May 3 urging it not to terminate India’s access to the GSP.