India set to raise tariffs on some US goods

US goods and services trade with India stood at an estimated $142.1 billion in 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 June 2019

India set to raise tariffs on some US goods

  • The government had said last June it would raise import taxes on a slew of US goods including almonds and apples
  • It delayed raising tariffs several times as trade talks between the world’s two biggest democracies raised hopes of a resolution

NEW DELHI: India has decided to raise tariffs on imports of 29 goods from the US after having deferred the move several times since announcing it last year, media reported Saturday.
The government had said last June it would raise import taxes on a slew of US goods including almonds and apples, apparently irked by Washington’s refusal to exempt New Delhi from higher steel and aluminum tariffs.
But it delayed raising tariffs several times as trade talks between the world’s two biggest democracies raised hopes of a resolution.
However President Donald Trump’s decision to strip New Delhi of its preferential trade status earlier this month appears to have triggered the latest Indian move.
There would be no further delays in imposing the retaliatory tariffs, the Economic Times reported, quoting a government official, with the new taxes due to take effect from Sunday.
The Press Trust of India news agency said the finance ministry would make a formal announcement soon, although it had already conveyed its decision to the United States.
The trade tensions come despite Washington’s effort to boost ties with India as a counterweight to China and Trump’s stated good relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Trump and Modi are set to meet at the G20 summit on June 28-29 in Osaka where the sticky trade issue is likely to be taken up.
It is also likely to figure during talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is set to visit India for talks later this month.
On Wednesday Pompeo had said the US was open to dialogue with India and would “broach some tough topics.”
US goods and services trade with India stood at an estimated $142.1 billion in 2018. The US trade deficit with India was $24.2 billion, according to official data.
Washington is already engaged in a full-blown trade war with India’s regional rival China.


Pandemic to keep Asia’s growth at lowest since 1967, warns World Bank

Updated 29 September 2020

Pandemic to keep Asia’s growth at lowest since 1967, warns World Bank

  • The bank said the region this year is projected to grow by only 0.9%, the lowest rate since 1967
  • The rest of the East Asia and Pacific region was projected to see a 3.5% contraction

TOKYO: The coronavirus pandemic is expected to lead to the slowest growth in more than 50 years in East Asia and the Pacific as well as China, while up to 38 million people are set to be pushed back into poverty, the World Bank said in an economic update on Monday.
The bank said the region this year is projected to grow by only 0.9%, the lowest rate since 1967.
Growth in China was expected to come in at 2% this year, boosted by government spending, strong exports and a low rate of new coronavirus infections since March, but held back by slow domestic consumption.
The rest of the East Asia and Pacific region was projected to see a 3.5% contraction, the World Bank said.
The pandemic and efforts to contain its spread led to a “significant curtailment” of economic activity, the report said.
“These domestic difficulties were compounded by the pandemic-induced global recession, which hit EAP (East Asia and Pacific) economies that rely on trade and tourism hard,” it said.
Countries in the region may need to pursue fiscal reform to mobilize revenue in response to the economic and financial impact from the pandemic, while social protection programs can help support workers’ integration back into the economy, the Washington, DC-based bank said.
“Countries with well-functioning social protection programs, and good implementation infrastructure, pre-COVID, have been able to scale up more quickly during the pandemic,” it said.
The economic shock of the pandemic was also expected to lead to a jump in poverty, defined as income of $5.50 a day, the bank said, adding that based on past experience and the latest gross domestic product forecasts, poverty could expand by 33 million to 38 million people to see its first rise in 20 years.
The bank said that 33 million people who would have in the absence of the pandemic escaped poverty would remain in it this year.
“The region is confronted with an unprecedented set of challenges,” said Victoria Kwakwa, vice president for East Asia and the Pacific at the World Bank.
“But there are smart policy options available that can soften these tradeoffs — such as investing in testing and tracing capacity and durably expanding social protection to cover the poor and the informal sector.”