India slaps higher import duties on steel, agri products in retaliation to US tariff hikes

With Trump administration increasing import duties and initiating trade war with various countries including India, the Indian government on Wednesday slapped higher duties on a number of items.

Written by Deepak Patel , Aanchal Magazine | New Delhi | Updated: June 22, 2018 4:30:38 am
India slaps higher import duties on steel, agri products in retaliation to US tariff hikes On March 9, US President Donald Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war. (Representational Photo)

With the Trump administration increasing import duties and initiating trade war with various countries including India, the Indian government on Wednesday slapped higher duties on a number of items including apples, almonds, walnuts, diagnostic reagents and certain steel products. A bulk of these products figure in a list of items imported from the US, alongside other countries.

India is the 21st largest agricultural export market for the US. Total American exports of agricultural products to India totaled $1.3 billion in 2016. Leading items in agricultural products category that are imported by India from US include: tree nuts ($522 million), cotton ($250 million), pulses ($144 million), fresh fruit ($72 million), and planting seeds ($32 million).

The increased import duty includes a hike on Artemia — imported from the US – from 5 per cent to 15 per cent. Artemia is also known as “brine shrimp”. The import duty of “almonds in shell” has been increased from Rs 35 per kg to Rs 42 per kg. Similarly, the import duty of “shelled almonds” has been increased from Rs 100 per kg to Rs 120 per kg.

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The import duty of “walnuts in shell” has been increased from 30 per cent to 120 per cent. The import duty of apples has been increased from 50 per cent to 75 per cent. The import duty of phosphoric acid has been increased from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. The import duty of boric acid has been increased from 10 per cent to 17.5 per cent.

For diagnostic reagents, other than those used for testing pregnancy or AIDS, the import duty has been increased from 10 to 20 per cent. The Indian Express reported on June 9 that the world’s largest association of medical device companies, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) has conveyed to two senior Trump administration officials that the NDA government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ platform has been used to “justify protectionist measures” — and has “not encouraged US medical technology firms to increase their presence in India”.

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On March 9, US President Donald Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war. 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.

On Wednesday, Flat rolled products of stainless steel, of a width of 600 mm or more and of a thickness from 3 mm to 10 mm, saw a duty increase from 15 per cent to 22.5 per cent. Flat rolled products of other alloy steel (grain oriented), of a width of 600 mm or more, saw a duty increase from 15 per cent to 20 per cent.

Screws that are used in manufacturing of cellular mobile phones have been increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent. On nuts that are made of iron or steel, the import duty has been increased from 15 to 25 per cent. Sim socket or other metallic mechanical items that are used in manufacturing of cellular mobile phones saw their import duty increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

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