'Protectionist' says US Secretary of Commerce of India, deal still in limbo


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'Protectionist' says US Secretary of Commerce of India, deal still in limbo

Wilbur Ross, the United States’ Secretary of Commerce said that it was reworking the terms of its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) vis-à-vis India, according to a Reuters report. Ross also admitted that India was still ineligible to re-enter the GSP after it was ousted from the program in June 2019.

Ross, who is in the Indian capital, New Delhi for the India Economic Summit, did not mince his words regarding India’s business-doing methodology. He said, “If we can solve GSP, that’s a very good step towards free trade.

We are hopeful that those gaps can be closed and we can get a more favourable trade arrangement with India ... GSP (reinstatement) could be called a limited trade deal”. He also termed India to be a protectionist economy.

“All that we are looking for is to level the playing field. India is ... certainly one of the most protectionist”. Earlier, in September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President Donald Trump had a bilateral meeting.

Although both Modi and Trump reaffirmed their bonhomie and Trump said he was hopeful of a trade agreement being reached between the two countries, the expected deal fell through. The US’ rationale was that India was not providing similar trade benefits to American exports as it received under the GSP. Following the US’ decision, India levied more stringent tariffs on 28 of its imports to India.