US President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw special trade privileges for India. Trump wrote to the US Congress declaring his intent to withdraw the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) which allows lower US duties on exports from 121 developing countries. India was the biggest beneficiary of the programme in 2017 and enjoyed exemptions on goods worth $5.6 billion.
Reacting to the development, India’s commerce secretary, Anup Wadhawan, said the impact would be minimal and would not be more than $190 million.
Sources in the ministry of external affairs told CNBC-Tv18 that India has been trying to work out a reasonable and balanced trade package with the US, but the flexibility shown by India did not meet the requirement of the US trade representatives.
In an interview to CNBC-TV18, R Gopalan, former DEA secretary; Kanwal Sibal, former foreign secretary; Ajay Sahai, DG and CEO, FIEO, and Jayant Dasgupta, former envoy to WTO, discussed the impact of the withdrawal of GSP benefits to India.
On commerce secretary's statement, Gopalan said, “I agree with this because it is about $5.6 billion export which is coming under GSP withdrawal against our total export of $315-320 billion. The loss will be close to about $190 million.”
“There are lot of ways in which the pain which will be caused to the set of industries can be overcome very easily. I think we should not be so fussy about this $5.6 billion against the total export of $320 billion,” he added.
Sahai said, “We were getting ready ourselves since he has started review of GSP in April 2018. Though it is on non-reciprocal basis, the US has linked it with market access and tariff reduction. So this was something which has not come out of the blue.”