The deadline for the imposition of higher customs duties on 29 products, including almond, walnut, and pulses, imported from the US, has been extended by 45 days. According to a notification from the Finance Ministry, the duties would now come into effect from September 18.
As per a June notification, the duty hike was to come into effect from August 4, but according to a PTI report, the 45-day extension was a result of positive expectations from the ongoing talks between the two countries. In a notification issued late on Friday night, the Finance Ministry replaced the August 4 date with September 18.
As per the notification, import duties on 29 American items would be hiked. While import duty on walnut is to be hiked to 120 percent from 30 percent, duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and Masur dal will be hiked to 70 percent from 30 percent. Levy on lentils will be hiked to 40 percent from 30 percent.
The duty hike move by India was in retaliation to the March 9 decision of US President Donald Trump to impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum items, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war. India has said the duty imposed by the US has affected steel exports by $198.6 million and aluminum shipments by $42.4 million.
India has also dragged the US to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism over the imposition of import duties on steel and aluminum. India exports steel and aluminum products worth about $1.5 billion to the US every year. Exports to the US in 2016-17 stood at $42.21 billion, while imports were $22.3 billion. Other products which would attract higher duties include boric acid, phosphoric acid, diagnostic reagent, flat-rolled products of iron, certain flat-rolled products of stainless steel.