Exhorting India’s commitment to free trade, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu said on Saturday that the US’ decision to increase tariffs on certain steel and aluminium products was an “unfortunate development”. Prabhu’s comments come at a time when global bodies have admitted to fears of a potential “trade war” between nations that could retaliate with their own tariff impositions.
“We are committed to free trade. We have definitely taken a note of it. It is a very unfortunate development and we will take it up bilaterally with all the countries. In any case we are having a meeting with all the major economies of the world who are coming to India. We will also discuss with them,” Prabhu told reporters at the sidelines of the Indo-French Partnership signing ceremony.
The US administration recently announced imposition of tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, citing national security concerns and the need to protect American industries from “unfair” business practices, triggering fears of a global trade war. US President Trump signed two proclamations that levied a 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imported from all countries except Canada and Mexico.
This move to impose tariff barriers has drawn criticism from various global quarters including the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Earlier this week, several countries, including India and China raised concerns about the imposition of tariffs on these products at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.