‘India has overly restrictive market barriers’

Tariff and non-tariff barriers, multiple regulations putting foreign firms at disadvantage: Ross

May 07, 2019 10:01 pm | Updated 10:34 pm IST - NEW DELHI

India’s average applied tariff of 13.8% is highest of any major economy, says Wilbur Ross

India’s average applied tariff of 13.8% is highest of any major economy, says Wilbur Ross

While the U.S. is India’s largest export destination, India is only the 13th largest for the U.S. due to “overly restrictive market access barriers,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday.

Rapid growth

“India is already the world’s third largest economy, and by 2030, it will become the world’s largest consumer market because of the rapid growth of the middle class,” Mr. Ross said, while speaking at the Trade Winds conference organised in the national capital.

“Yet, today, India is only the U.S.’s 13th largest export market, due to overly restrictive market access barriers,” he added. “Meanwhile, the U.S. is India’s largest export market, accounting for something like 20% of the total. There is a real imbalance.”

Mr. Ross went on to say that while American technology and expertise can play an important role to meet India’s developmental needs, U.S. companies faced significant market access barriers in India.

“These include both tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as multiple practices and regulations that disadvantage foreign companies,” he said. “India’s average applied tariff rate of 13.8%, and that remains the highest of any major world economy. The very highest.”

“It has, for example, a 60% tariff on automobiles; it has a 50% on motorcycles; and 150% on alcoholic beverages,” Mr. Ross added, highlighting a stress point U.S. President Donald Trump had mentioned several times. “These are not justified percentages. They are way too high.”

The U.S. Commerce Secretary said that the U.S. was working with the Indian government and the private sector to address the market access issues through the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue, and the recently re-convened U.S.-India CEO Forum.

“Our goal is to eliminate barriers to U.S. companies, operating here, including data-localisation restrictions that actually weaken data security and increase the cost of doing business,” Mr. Ross said.

‘Price controls’

“Other obstacles include price controls on medical devices and pharmaceuticals, and restrictive tariffs on electronics and telecommunications products,” he added.

Mr. Ross, on Monday, reportedly said that the U.S. would not be able to sell oil to India at lower rates because oil is owned by private players and the U.S. government would not be able to force them to offer concessionary rates.

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