Trump admin warns India of more action against ‘unfair’ trade practices

NEW DELHI: The Trump administration has warned India that it would be compelled to take “additional action” against the country over its “unfair” trade practices as the two nations have made “no headway” on these issues.
The warning from US trade representative Robert Lighthizer came days after President Donald Trump announced that the US would end its preferential trade treatment for India on June 5.
India has been the single biggest beneficiary of the US Generalized System of Preferences programme, allowing it to export $5.7 billion worth of duty-free goods in 2017, according to US Congress data.
“We have spent a lot of time worrying about India… we have a series of problems with them, that we’ve raised over a period of months,” Lighthizer said.
US trade representative Robert Lighthizer comments came ahead of US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s visit to India from June 25-27.
During a Congressional hearing, Lighthizer told the members of the House Ways and Means Committee that the Trump administration over the past few months did a review of GSP, after which President Donald Trump decided to take the GSP away. “…we made literally no headway on the issues over the course of months and months and months,” he said.
“We are looking at a variety of other unfair actions (by India) that may provoke us to take some other additional action,” Lighthizer said, responding to a question from Republican Congressman George Holding. “They have a new government now. Obviously it’s the same leader, but a new government…And I will talk to him in the next few days. My hope (is that) we can jumpstart and make some headway,” Lighthizer said.
At the same time, he alleged that India has about the “highest tariffs of any country you can imagine” in the world. “They have a very status kind of an economy. It’s very heavily regulated. They have created problems in the digital space, in the agriculture space, in regular manufacturing. I mean in retail, just across the board,” he said. Lighthizer was responding to a question from Congressman Holding. —PTI