Trump targets India and Turkey in trade crackdown

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The US plans to end preferential trade status for India, under a scheme which allows certain products to enter the US duty-free.

President Donald Trump said India had failed to assure the US it would provide reasonable access to its markets.

The US will also end Turkey’s preferential trade status, saying it no longer qualifies.

It is the latest US attempt to counter what it sees as unfair trade practices.

Mr Trump has pledged to reduce US trade deficits, and has repeatedly called out India for high tariffs.

In a letter to Congress, the US president said India “has not assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India”.

As a result, he directed the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office to remove India from a programme that grants it preferential trade treatment.

‘Preferential treatment’

Under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, “certain products can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing country meets a set of criteria established by Congress”.

The criteria include providing intellectual property protection, and giving the US reasonable and fair market access.

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The US also intends to remove Turkey from its GSP programme. It argues the country no longer meets the criteria because it is “sufficiently economically developed”.

The changes may not take effect until at least 60 days after the notifications to Congress and the governments of India and Turkey.

Trade war

The move is the latest push by the Trump administration to redress what it considers to be unfair trading relationships with other countries.

That sentiment has fuelled a damaging trade war between Washington and Beijing. Negotiations are ongoing to resolve the dispute that has seen both sides impose billions of dollars worth of tariffs on one another’s goods.

The US has also imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from countries around the world.

Last year India retaliated to those tariff hikes by raising import duties on a range of goods.

Preferential trade treatment for India currently allows $5.6bn (£4.3bn) worth of exports to enter the United States duty free, according to Reuters.

The move to end such status comes at a challenging time for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he prepares to face elections this year.

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