Higher import duties on 29 US products to come into effect from September 18

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 04, 2018

Trade differences between India and the United States have been rising since President Donald Trump took office.

Commerce Ministry has requested Finance Ministry to extend the implementation of higher duty by 45 days

The Finance Ministry has issued a notification to defer the retaliatory duty on import of over two dozen products till September 18. Earlier, higher duty was scheduled to come into effect from August 4.

In an effort to resolve differences, the Commerce Ministry has requested the Finance Ministry to extend the implementation of higher duty by 45 days, which later accepted.

It may be noted that the Government, on June 21, had decided to hike the import duties after the Trump administration’s decision to unilaterally raise the import levies on certain steel and aluminium products earlier this year, which had a tariff implication of ₹241 million on India. India’s measures are expected to have an equal impact on the US.

Indication of deferment came on the day of issuance of notification itself. Normally, any change to indirect taxes such as import duty (also known as Customs duty) comes into effect from the date of the notification. However, in this case, it was decided to impose from August 4. After detailed discussion internally, it has been decided to defer.

Though the US Trade Representative's office had two rounds of dialogue with Indian officials, a compromise could not be reached. The government is now hoping that the issue can be resolved in the next 45 days.

Five World Trade Organisation members, including the EU, China and Turkey, which are also at the receiving end of higher import duty on steel and aluminium by the US, have already imposed retaliatory duties against US goods.

June 21 notification includes 29 products: walnuts, almonds, pulses, apples and non-iron among others. Shelled almonds imported from the US will attract an import duty of ₹120/kg against ₹100/kg earlier.

Almonds in shell will attract an import duty of ₹42 per kg (up from ₹35/kg). Levy on walnuts in shell will be 120 per cent, against 30 per cent earlier; apples will attract 75 per cent import duty, up from 50 per cent.

Among pulses, the duty on chickpeas, bengal gram (chana) and masur dal has been raised to 70 per cent from 30 per cent, while that on lentils has been hiked to 40 per cent from 30 per cent.

Duty on flat-rolled iron products has been raised to 27.50 per cent from 15 per cent, while certain flat-rolled stainless steel products will now attract 22.50 per cent duty against 15 per cent earlier. Duty on artemia, a kind of shrimp, has been raised to 30 per cent.

Published on August 04, 2018

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