India hits back at US with added tariffs on 28 products including almonds, apples and walnuts — just ahead of Pompeo's visit

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, at the India Ideas SummitUS Department of State

  • India imposed higher import tariffs on 28 US products over the weekend.
  • The development comes ahead of the Mike Pompeo's, the US Secretary of State, plans to visit New Delhi where he is hoping for an 'open dialogue'.
  • After numerous delays, the retaliatory tariffs have been imposed after the US removed India from the list of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
India just smacked 28 US products with retaliatory tariffs ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to New Delhi on June 24.

Among the products that will now cost more to import are consumables like almonds, apples, walnuts and pulses.

India was the largest importer of almonds from the US in 2018, accounting for more than half of all US exports of almonds coming up $543 million and the second largest export market for US apples at $156 million.

Last week, at the India Ideas Summit with the US-India Business Council, Pompeo said that he was hoping for an 'open dialogue' but higher tariffs may only serve to further strain trade relations between the two countries.

I do hope, and remain open – and we remain open to dialogue, and hope that our friends in India will drop their trade barriers and trust in the competitiveness of their own companies, their own businesses, their own people, and private sector companies.

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, at the India Ideas Summit


Pompeo's pitch

President of the US, Donald Trump, and Pompeo have both repeatedly said that they're only looking for 'equality' between the two nations.

And it's only natural – it's only natural that the world's most populous democracy should partner with the world's oldest democracy to maintain our shared vision throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, at the India Ideas Summit

Unlike Trump, who has repeatedly expressed his disappointment on the high tariffs India imposes on Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Pompeo has other issues on his mind — like India's plans for data localisation.

He feels that the free flow of data across borders in just in favour of US firms but also in favour of protecting and securing consumer data. And, during this visit, he also wants to touch upon the development of 5G connectivity in india where he feels the US can help India establish secure communications networks.

He added that countries that have allowed US firms to conduct 'fair and reciprocal trade' have seen 'real opportunity'.

Trade tensions

The administration under US President, Donald Trump, removed India from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) last month.

But trade tensions between the two countries were already escalating when, last year, Trump introduced higher aluminium and steel tariffs on imports from India — when the emerging Asian economy initially announced its plans to introduce higher tariffs.

As trade talks between the two countries progressed, the Indian government delayed its plans. After Modi was elected for a second-term, Reuters reported that he would announce the tariffs ahead of his meeting with Trump at the G20 Summit in Japan that happened on June 28-29.

On Saturday, India finally implemented the amendments stating that the tariffs “shall apply to goods originating in the United States of America” which went into effect starting 16 June.

India is the first stop on Pompeo's four-nation visit of the Indo-Pacific. He will also be visiting Sri Lanka, Japan and South Korea on his tour that stretches from June 24 to June 30.

See also:
These sectors will hurt the most from US withdrawing trade benefits to India

Amazon, Walmart seek US help against India’s new draft E-commerce Policy

Rise in US H-1B visa rejection may force Indian tech companies to look at M&A

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