India resigned to US decision to end zero-tariffs status

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s commerce ministry said Tuesday that it won’t try to hold onto its preferential zero-tariffs status with the United States after Washington decided to drop it from its Generalized System of Preferences program.

On Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that India and Turkey would lose their GSP status within 60 days. He said India had failed “to provide the United States with assurances that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors.”

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

“The GSP benefits will go, the U.S. will not relent on this,” she said.

Mukherjee said India disagrees over the market access issue, but has outgrown GSP. The savings on tariffs amounted to only $190 million a year, the ministry said.

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“It’s meant for least-developed countries, and India has graduated out of that,” Mukherjee said.

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

India is one of the fastest growing emerging economies.

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