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Tariff war: India Inc in wait-and-watch mode

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Exchange comes ahead of WTO meet

With U.S. President Trump threatening yet again to impose ‘reciprocal taxes’, India Inc said it was in a wait-and-watch mode.

“We are watching,” Sanjaya Baru, secretary general, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry told The Hindu. “A lot of talk is happening, let’s wait and watch as far as action is concerned,” he said.

Mr. Baru, however, stressed that the trade action by the U.S. is targeted at China, not India.

Mr. Trump, who has already raised the issue of import duty on Harley Davidson bikes three time in a year, on Friday tweeted, “When a country taxes our products coming in at, say, 50%, and we tax the same product coming into our country at ZERO, not fair or smart. We will soon be starting RECIPROCAL TAXES so that we will charge the same thing as they charge us. $800 Billion Trade Deficit-have no choice!”

His comments come ahead of a meeting of WTO trade ministers this month to be hosted by India.

Mr. Baru said there was an agreement by which “India would export mangoes to the U.S., and import Harley Davidsons. So America cannot... unilaterally, take any action,” Mr. Baru said.

Last month, India had slashed custom duty on imported motorcycles to 50%.

Mr. Baru said like other countries, India too is closely watching what the U.S. is doing, adding that, “There are mechanisms by which these issues can be dealt [with] in the WTO. But main focus of U.S. trade action is at the moment China and India also has major concerns with respect to China’s trade policies.”

The U.S. President had also tweeted, “When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country, it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!”

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 9:58:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/tariff-war-india-inc-in-wait-and-watch-mode/article22920084.ece

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