Millennium Post

Govt may extend deadline for higher tariffs on 29 US products by 45 days

New Delhi: The government may extend by another 45 days the deadline for imposition of higher customs duties on 29 products, including almond, walnut and pulses, imported from the US.

Through a notification, the Finance Ministry had in June said the higher tariffs on imports from the US would come into effect from August 4.

"Commerce Ministry has suggested the Department of Revenue to amend the notification for further extension of retaliatory measures for another 45 days," a Commerce Ministry official said.

According to another official, India and the US are holding discussion to remove trade hurdles between the countries and India is expecting some positive outcome. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is likely to issue on August 4 an amended notification extending the date for the new levy, the official said.

While import duty on walnut was to be hiked to 120 per cent from 30 per cent earlier, duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal was to be hiked to 70 per cent from 30 per cent. Levy on lentils was to be hiked to 40 per cent from 30 per cent.

The duty hike decision by India was in retaliation to March 9 decision of US President Donald Trump to impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war.

India has said the duty imposed by the US has affected steel exports by $198.6 million and aluminium shipments by $42.4 million.

India has also dragged the US to the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism over the imposition of import duties on steel and aluminium.

India exports steel and aluminium products worth about $1.5 billion to the US every year.

Exports to the US in 2016-17 stood at $42.21 billion, while imports were $22.3 billion.

As per the revised levy of 29 products, duty on apples imported from the US was to be hiked to 75 per cent as against 50 per cent earlier.

The same for boric acid and phosphoric acid was to be hiked to 17.50 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively from 10 per cent each earlier.

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