News Wrap: India defers tariffs against US

| Updated on August 05, 2018

In a continuing attempt to avoid a tariff war with the US, India is planning to again put off implementation of retaliatory import duties of $241 million against 29 products from the US, by another month-and-a-half.

“The Department of Commerce has suggested to the Department of Revenue that the notification on retaliatory duties against the US be amended to extend the date of implementation by 45 days, beyond August 4,” a government official told BusinessLine.

The retaliatory duties had been mooted to neutralise the effect of the additional import duties imposed by the US on Indian steel and aluminium to the tune of 25 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. The US had cited reasons of national security for the levy.

While India had notified higher duties on US import items, including almonds, apples and certain steel products, on June 20, it had then put off implementation to August 4 as it had hoped to sort out the matter with the US in the interim.

“While the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) 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,” the official added.

Farm exports clock 6% growth in Q1

Exports of farm and processed food products registered near-6 per cent growth in dollar terms to $4.68 billion during the April-June quarter over the corresponding period last year.

In rupee terms, the growth was higher, at around 10 per cent, touching ₹31,397 crore, as against ₹28,564 crore in the corresponding quarter last year, according to the latest numbers from the Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA).

The higher growth in rupee terms could be attributed to the weakening of the currency, which fell around 5.45 per cent against the dollar during the quarter.

The export growth has come about mainly on account of strong demand for non-basmati rice, pulses, dairy products, guar gum, fruit and vegetable seeds, among others. Key products such as basmati rice and buffalo meat registered flat-to-negative growth in dollar terms on a dip in volumes.

Basmati exports dropped in volumes to 1.16 million tonnes (mt) as against 1.25 mt in the same period last year. A weak currency in Iran — the largest buyer — impacted the earnings.

Exports of pulses have picked up, with volumes exceeding over one lakh tonnes during the quarter, enjoying robust demand from countries such as Turkey, Algeria and the UAE.

Sugar millers from South seek Centre’s help

A delegation of the South Indian Sugar Mills Association met with the Prime Minister last Monday to ask for Centre’s support in rescheduling loans to settle dues to farmers. It also sought help to smoothen the supply of ethanol to public sector oil companies by Tamil Nadu mills, to enable the mills to participate in the ethanol-blended fuel programme.

As opposed to the overall sugarcane glut in the country, Tamil Nadu has been facing an acute sugarcane shortage over the past few years due to drought. The situation is similar in South Karnataka, too.

Mills in Tamil Nadu worked at just 20 per cent of capacity in the 2017-18 (October-September) season. Capacity utilisation has dropped steadily year by year from 50 per cent in 2013-14.

Mills in the State owe sugarcane arrears of about ₹200 crore in the current season (as of June 15). They also have about ₹540 crore in sugar industry-specific loans from the government and about ₹3,200 crore in bank debt.



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Published on August 05, 2018
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