India Imposes Higher Tariffs On U.S.

India has increased tariffs on U.S. products in retaliation to President Donald Trump scrapping trade privileges for India. A government notification said the new duties will take effect on Sunday. President Trump is planning to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a G20 summit in Japan on June 28 and 29.

The retaliatory tariffs of up to 120 percent will affect 28 U.S. goods totaling $240 million. The U.S. products targeted include almonds, apples, chickpeas, and walnuts. Some chemicals are also included on the list. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, India is the largest buyer of U.S. almonds, purchasing more than half of U.S. almond exports for about $543 million in 2018. It is the second largest buyer of U.S. apples, paying $156 million for apples in 2018.

The tariffs were initially proposed in response to President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed last year. India requested that the White House exempt it from the 25 percent tariff on steel and the 10 percent tariff on aluminum, but the administration never granted the exemption.

President Trump has repeatedly slammed the U.S. trade deficit with India. India sells a lot more to America than it buys. It imported $33 billion of U.S. goods last year, while exporting goods worth $54 billion. Overall, trade between the two countries was reported about $142.1 billion in 2018. The president has also complained about India’s high tariffs on products like motorcycles and alcohol.

India was the biggest beneficiary of a scheme that allowed duty-free exports of up to $5.6 billion, under the Generalized System of Preferences, a program that is meant to help developing countries. Trade privileges under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) were eliminated for India on June 5. India has called the move “unfortunate.”