India refuses to accept caps on steel, aluminium exports to the US

India has turned down a Donald Trump administration offer to waive tariff hikes on steel and aluminium in exchange for capping exports of these items at 70 per cent of their total exports to the US last year.

India has maintained that exports of these items to the US form a minuscule portion of total imports by the US and no quantitative quota should be put in place.

“We have made it clear that we will not accept any caps on India’s steel and aluminium exports to the US,” a senior government official told Mint newspaper on condition of anonymity.

India has claimed that steel and aluminium exports worth $1.2 billion to the US have been impacted after the tariff hike in March, with the US collecting additional revenue worth $241 million.

India is currently negotiating a trade package with the US and has been demanding a waiver on tariff hikes similar to the ones US granted to Argentina, Brazil and South Korea.

Both sides have concluded three rounds of talks and assistant US trade representative for South and Central Asian affairs Mark Linscott is expected to visit India this month for the next round of negotiations.

India’s exports of steel items to the US plunged 42 per cent in the June quarter, affected by sanctions slapped by the Trump administration, invoking national security, even as exports of aluminium items to the US, facing similar sanctions, jumped 59 per cent.

Trump has often pointed to the bilateral trade surplus India enjoys, claiming that it restricts US exports through higher tariffs. Last week, President Trump said he wanted to stop the subsidies that growing economies such as India and China have been receiving as he wants the US, which he considers a “developing nation”, to grow faster than others.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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