New Delhi (Sputnik): US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday warned New Delhi against imposing retaliatory tariffs in the backdrop of Washington's planned withdrawal of some trade privileges for India, according to Indian news channel CNBC TV18.
Ross made the comments while on a visit to India. In March, US President Donald Trump had announced plans to end preferential trade treatment for India that allows duty-free entry for up to $5.6 billion worth of its exports to the US.
Ross today met top Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Stating that India remains a challenging market for US firms due to higher tariffs, Ross, however, expressed the hope that the two strategically important partners can resolve the matter amicably.
"Today India is only the US' 13th largest market due to overtly restrictive market access barriers. The US is India's largest export market — that is a real imbalance", Ross said at the US government-sponsored business event "Indo-Pacific Trade Winds" on the second day of his India visit.
Calling it "unjustified", Ross said, "US businesses face significant market access barriers in India. These include both tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as multiple practises and regulations that disadvantage foreign companies."
"There is an imbalance in Indo-US trade. I would like to rephrase 'Make America great again' with 'Make America great with Indian cooperation'", Ross said.
The statement came in the backdrop of US President Donald Trump's remark on Sunday, saying tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would increase to 25% on Friday. It sent ripples in the Asian market. In addition, Trump threatened to impose 25% tariffs on an additional $325 billion of Chinese goods "shortly". The announcement came in the midst of trade talks between the US and China.
Last month, Trump called India a "tariff king", which was countered immediately by the South Asian country.
"They charge us 100% tariffs on goods. So, they send a motorcycle — and they make a lot of them-Indian cycles. They send them to our country. We charge them nothing. We send a Harley Davidson to India and they charge us 100%. Not fair, okay. Not reciprocal. It's not fair", Trump said at the National Republican Congressional Committee's annual spring dinner in April.
India imposes high duties on several items, such as whiskey and wines (150%), automobiles (60-100%), mango juices (50%), and marble blocks (40%). The country's average tariff at 13.8% may be higher than that of the US' 3.4%, but is almost at par with South Korea's (13.7%).