By admin       2019-06-04

Cautioning that US firms seeking to expand exports to India could be hit, a group of 25 US lawmakers wrote to USTR Robert Lighthizer in early May not to terminate the GSP benefit for India as no party, on either side would benefit. Many US companies will pay millions of dollars annually in new taxes and even temporary lapses in such benefits earlier have caused firms to lay off workers, cut salaries and benefits, and delay or cancel investments in the US, the lawmakers added.US importers enjoyed nearly $730 million, $894 million and $1.03 billion in savings on import duties under the GSP scheme in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.A number of small US businesses across sectors had requested the USTR in August last year to continue extending GSP benefits to India as withdrawing those could hit their own bottomlines, employment capabilities and welfare of employees. As imports are made with long-standing suppliers, revoking the GSP status would make identifying new suppliers with the same quality and price point extremely time-consuming, they said.Twenty-five US trade associations sent a letter to the USTR in April this year saying the decision was likely to exacerbate political differences over trade issues, trigger retaliatory actions by India and undermine the business climate for US companies trading with and engaged in business in India. The action will have an adverse impact on many US workers who now depend on global value chains that use imports from India, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) said.As per USTR data, the total US-India trade amounted to $142.1 billion in 2018. Of this, India's exports were worth $83.2 billion—2.1 per cent of total imports of the United States—and it had a trade surplus of $24.2 billion.India, however, maintains that it views the GSP issue as part of the regular engagement process and will continue to work with the US to strengthen economic ties. (WE)

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