15:53 GMT16 January 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Trade relations between India and the US have been on a slippery slope ever since Washington withdrew trade privileges for New Delhi under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) affecting about $ 5.6 billion worth of exports, prompting India to retaliate with tariffs on 28 American products.

    Two Republican senators have penned a letter to US President Donald Trump to fight for lower Indian tariffs on pulse crops such as lentils, chickpeas and dried beans ahead of the US Commander-in-Chief's visit to the South Asian country on 24-25 February.

    The senators from North Dakota and Montana have mentioned how the two states, the largest producers of pulse crops in the US, were affected by high Indian tariffs.

    India is the world's largest consumer of pulse crops, contributing to approximately 27 percent of the world's consumption, they stated in the letter. 

    Kevin Cramer and Steve Daines wrote: “The most commonly consumed pulse crops in India are lentils, chickpeas, dried beans, and peas, yet the Republic of India has levied substantial tariffs on American pulse crops. Unfair Indian tariffs on pulse crops have substantially harmed our producers back home.”

    While speculations are rife that India is likely to seek a full restoration of the Generalised System of Preferences, removed last year during trade talks with the United States, the Republican Senators highlighted how the removal of GSP has hurt the US as well.  

    "Following the removal of India from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSSP) on 5 June 2019, additional tariffs were placed on American pulse crops. Currently tariff rates are 30 percent for dried beans, 50 percent for lentils and peas, and 70 percent for chickpeas. As a result, U.S. pulse crop producers face a significant competitive disadvantage when exporting to India,” they wrote in the letter.

    Access to the agriculture produce market is key to the US-India trade deal. India has been resisting access to its agriculture market as it might hurt the interests of its own farmers; the country has withdrawn from the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on similar grounds.



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