India Looks for Section 232 Tariffs Exemptions

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Unlike China, its neighbor India is not right now thinking on the lines of imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products.

However, the Indian government has requested the U.S. to exempt it from the hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

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This was revealed by a minister in the Lower House of the Indian Parliament in a written reply to a question. Following the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump in late March of increasing the tariffs on imports, the Indian government had also conducted a study on the impact on Indian goods and steel industry.

MetalMiner reported that the move by the U.S. government may not impact India the way it will China.

India exports around U.S. $1.5 billion of these products to America.

India said it was willing to sit with the U.S. and solve the issue bilaterally.

The U.S. president signed two proclamations that levied a 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum imported from all countries, except neighboring Canada and Mexico (since then, others have gained exemptions).

A news report in the business newspaper Mint has said India will seek to convince the U.S. to exempt it from these duty hikes at a bilateral meeting during a visit by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Mark Limscott to New Delhi next week.

The meeting scheduled for April 10, in preparation of a trade policy forum dialogue for the year’s end, will be the first opportunity for the Indian side to put across its case for an exemption.

The news report quoted an unnamed commerce ministry official as saying the U.S.’s decision to impose tariffs on the grounds of national security, and then grant exemptions to allies, was against World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

India does not want to “retaliate” like China against the U.S., as the latter was considered to be a “valuable strategic partner.”

China recently hiked tariffs by up to 25% on 128 US products, from frozen pork and wine to certain fruits and nuts, escalating a trade dispute between the two nations.

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India is the world’s 14th-largest steel exporter, and sold iron and steel worth $320 million and aluminum worth $350 million to the U.S. in 2016-17. The U.S. ranked seventh as a destination for Indian steel, accounting for 5% of exports.

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