India should drag US in WTO over tariff hike decision, say trade experts

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NEW DELHI: India should drag the US in the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) dispute mechanism against the move to hike import duties on steel and aluminium, as the decision will impact exports and it is not in compliance with the global trade norms, experts on Sunday said.
The decision of the US would not only impact India’s export of these goods to America but also affect global trade, Biswajit Dhar, a professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said.
“Such decisions are protectionist in nature. India needs to approach the WTO against this move as it would severely hit global trade,” Dhar said.
Former Commerce Secretary G K Pillai said the country should take action against America and also raise duties on products like almonds, pistachio and Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The US exports these items to India.
“We also have the freedom to increase tariffs. India should also retaliate as the US decision will impact exports of steel and aluminium goods. You have to take action to protect the country’s interests,” Pillai told.
He added that raising duties by India would be within the bound rates of the WTO.
These are the rates beyond which, a WTO member can not increase taxes on a commodity.
Exporters body FIEO too said that India should file a complaint in the Geneva-based WTO as the decision of America is not in compliance with the global trade norms.
India’s exports of steel and aluminium products to America stood at about USD 1.5 billion every year.
“India has huge trade interest in the US and knee-jerk reaction is not good. We should approach the WTO,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai said.