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Tuesday 20th March 2018

US Ends Preferential Trade Deals with India, Turkey

Politics

Maurice Cassidy

Wed, 06 Mar 2019 18:47 GMT

Turkey and India reacted with a mix of anger and resignation on Tuesday March 5th at the United States' decision to end a preferential trade programme with the countries that will see the re-imposition of some tariffs on goods.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced on Monday that within 60 days India and Turkey will no longer qualify for a zero-tariffs status that some poor countries receive to help them grow. The decision came at the direction of President Donald Trump, reported AP.

Turkey's trade minister slammed the move, saying it would only harm American small- and medium-sized enterprises and manufacturers by raising costs.

Ruhsar Pekcan tweeted on Tuesday that this year Turkey intends to press ahead with efforts to increase trade with the US to $75 billion "without losing any momentum."

Turkey imported $20.9 billion in goods under the tax-free scheme in the first 11 months of 2018. It exported $1.74 billion to the US, making Turkey the fifth largest supplier to the US among the developing countries.

Meanwhile India said it would accept the decision without further negotiations.

The decision reflects a failure of the two sides to come to agreement on various trade issues, but it is not one India will try to fight, said Monideepa M Mukherjee, a spokeswoman for India's commerce ministry.

In the announcement, Lighthizer said India had not agreed to open up its markets more to US companies.

Mukherjee said India disagrees over the market access issue, but has outgrown the preferential trade status, called Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The savings on tariffs amounted to only $190 million a year, the ministry said.

"The GSP benefits will go, the US will not relent on this," said Mukherjee. "It's meant for least-developed countries, and India has graduated out of that." India is one of the fastest growing emerging economies.

The GSP programme gives developing countries duty-free treatment for exports of thousands of products. It is meant to help such countries expand their economies by encouraging trade.


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