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Ending India preferential status hurts 44 US lawmakers tell Donald Trump

India September 18(IM): The Donald Trump administration has been urged by a group of 44 influential lawmakers to reinstate India as a beneficiary of the duty-free import scheme for developing nations.

The United States had suspended India from the list of beneficiaries under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in June.

The House members wrote a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The group of lawmakers, led by Congressmen Jim Himes and Ron Estes, has been signed by 26 Democrats and 18 Republicans. This clearly shows the bipartisan support for extending the trade benefits back to India.

The lawmakers said that after the termination of GSP to India the costs for their constituents are growing every day. Latest data by the Coalition for GSP shows that India losing the trade preferential status meant that American companies lost about $30 million in July.

India has been the largest beneficiary of the GSP programme, which allows certain imports from 120 countries to enter the United States at zero tariff. India sold an estimated $6.3 billion worth of goods to the US under this programme in 2018.

The GSP is the largest and oldest US trade preference programme and is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.

Observing that the United states has legitimate concerns against India, the lawmakers wrote those policies negatively affect US companies trying to access its market, including a number of longstanding issues that have been subject to intergovernmental talks for years.

“As you know, several US industries filed petitions under GSP’s market access criterion, which were accepted for review in April 2018. Ultimately, failure to make sufficient progress on the issues led to termination of India’s GSP eligibility on June 5, 2019,” they said.

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