As per latest reports, India is set to impose retaliatory tariffs on 29 goods imported from the United States from June 16 onwards. The tariffs will place a burden of $220-290 million in the US which is about the same amount imposed by the country on India. India had decided to impose these retaliatory tariffs last year itself.
Last year, it had been reported that India was all set to launch retaliatory tariffs worth $240 million on a revised list of 30 items imported from the United States. This had been done in order to confront the Trump administration on the American move to suddenly hike duties on Indian steel and aluminum. The move had come at a time when India has decided to hold trade negotiations with the US in order to ease the growing tensions between the two countries on this specific issue.
A Commerce Ministry official said, “India has decided to go ahead and impose the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. items.” He added, “The deadline after which the tariffs would be imposed was supposed to be June 16. The notification to impose the tariffs will be issued by the Finance Ministry before then.”
As stated earlier, the decision to impose retaliatory tariffs on 29 items imported from the US had been taken last year itself in the month of June after the Trump administration in the US took the decision to hike import duties on Indian steel and aluminium. However, trade negotiations continued for a year, with India extending the deadline for imposing retaliatory tariffs every time. However, it seems that negotiations have clearly failed and now India has decided to take the global trade war head-on.
This is not for the first time that India has acted independently and strongly in the backdrop of adverse decisions by the Donald Trump administration in the US. Last year, India had openly defied US sanctions against doing defence business with Russia. A source had told Mail Today, “The issue of the sanctions has already been discussed between the US and India, but India will go ahead with its decision and continue negotiations to buy the missile system from Russia.” India went on to purchase the S-400 air defence system, a superior and top-notch air defence system. Modi government did not follow its diktat to not purchase S-400 missiles from Russia.
The US has imposed sanctions on Russia due to its intervention in Crimea. US sanctions on Russia led to Indian payments worth over $100 million to Russia being blocked in less than a month, with payments of over $2 billion facing uncertainty. It impacted ongoing submarine repairs besides the purchases of missiles and ammunition. The signing of a $5-billion deal to purchase the S-400 air defense system from Russia was also under doubt. When there was no chance of cooperation India had found a way to pay to Russia. It was planned by the Indian government that now India will go on with a rupee-ruble transfer as this is the only way out for both sides. However, the US later decide to mend ways with India for mutual benefit and India, along with Indonesia and Vietnam, got a waiver from US sanctions against Russia.
India has retaliated to trade friction created unilaterally by the US in equal measure. The US has been looking upon India as a crucial strategic partner for quite some time and there is no doubt about the fact that India has always responded with warmth to any goodwill measures extended by the US. However, with this move, India has made it clear that notwithstanding the strategic relationship with the United States, it is not going to take unilateral hikes by the US lying down. India will retaliate to any adverse measures taken by the United States with full intensity and vigour.