Higher import duties on strategic US imports to kick in from today

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Strategic imports from the US, including items across the board such as dry fruits, shrimps, chemicals, and motorcycles, are all set to attract higher duty from Thursday onwards.

Set to bring out the official notification during the day, India has prepared a crafty list to counter US President Donald Trump’s repeated threats of cutting trade while aiming to reduce the impact on domestic businesses. It hopes to rake in a total $240 million worth of duties through higher tax by up to 50 per cent on certain items.

India last week notified the World Trade Organisation of its decision to impose higher import tariffs on 30 US goods. The move comes after New Delhi got a cold shoulder from Washington DC on its request for exempting India from the higher tariffs announced by the US on steel and aluminium imports.

He added that the list was prepared keeping in mind the relentless attacks by the US in certain sectors. As a result, motorcycles above 800cc have been kept in it despite having only a small amount of trade since Trump has used Harley-Davidson bikes as an instrument to attack India on alleged market access issues. On the other hand, repeated calls by US-based trade bodies to penalise Indian exports of lobsters may have been the reason behind American Brine Shrimps finding its way into the list of tariff hikes.

Senior industry leaders said the list points out several items which the government had earlier pushed importers to source from nations apart from the US as well, to reduce import dependence on one country. 

Interestingly, the list also includes as many as 18 iron and steel items, a potent political reply against Trump’s tariff hikes.

The global trading mechanism has been shaken up by $34 billion worth of tariff hikes announced by both the US and China last weekend. Since then, Trump has threatened an additional $200 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing has indicated it won’t cow down.

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