Millennium Post

Maintain GSP beneficiary status for us: India to USA

Washington DC: India on Tuesday urged the Trump Administration to retain the GSP beneficiary status to it as a withdrawal would be discriminatory and detrimental to the development, finance and trade needs of the country.

"We request the President (Donald Trump) to maintain the GSP beneficiary status to India," Puneet Roy Kundal, Minister Commerce at the Indian Embassy here, told the US Trade Representatives (USTR). A withdrawal of the GSP benefits to India "would be discriminatory and detrimental to the development, finance and trade needs of India - a vast and diverse developing country with unique challenges," Kundal said in a written submission.

America's Generalized System of Preferences program (GSP) provides for the preferential treatment of designated articles when imported from beneficiary developing countries. A self-initiated review by the USTR focuses on whether India is meeting the US criteria for a GSP beneficiary country and particularly if India provides equitable and reasonable market access to products from the US. Noting that a predominant share of GSP beneficiary items exported from India are intermediaries and semi-manufactured goods, he said provision of GSP benefits to these intermediary products enables availability of cost effective and price competitive inputs to the US downstream industry.

Kundal said this helps the US industries to maintain their domestic and export competitiveness. In addition, GSP benefits are integral and geared to enhancing India's development and the pace of economic reforms, he said. The products on which India receives GSP benefits belong to sectors which employ several thousands of men and women, especially in rural areas through micro, small and medium enterprises. The GSP benefits help the related sectors to overcome, at least partially, some of the inherent cost and logistical disadvantages prevailing in a developing economy like India, Kundal said.

Furthermore, Indian GSP exports represent a miniscule portion of the total imports of the United States and do not pose any threat or disruption to US industry, he argued.

"It is pertinent that India stands at a gross national income per capita of $6,490.61 per annum in PPP terms in 2016, as reported in the World Bank database, which is well below the threshold of $12,476 per annum per capita, Kundal asserted.

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