US President Donald Trump Says He Plans To End Preferential Trade Treatment To India

US President Donald Trump Says He Plans To End Preferential Trade Treatment To India

US President Donald Trump Says He Plans To End Preferential Trade Treatment To India

New Delhi: At the direction of US President Donald Trump, the Washington intends to scrap India and Turkey's preferential trade status, the US trade chief's office said Monday.

The move comes as the US and China seek to negotiate an exit from a costly trade war between the two countries that is part of the Trump administration's efforts to address what it views as inequitable commercial relationships with other states.

The Office of the US Trade Representative said in a statement that Washington "intends to terminate India's and Turkey's designations as beneficiary developing countries under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program because they no longer comply with the statutory eligibility criteria."

It also added that, India has failed to provide assurances that it would allow required market access, while Turkey is "sufficiently economically developed" that it no longer qualifies.

Under the GSP program, "certain products" can enter the US duty-free if countries meet eligibility criteria including "providing the United States with equitable and reasonable market access."

However, India "has implemented a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on United States commerce," the statement said.

The statement also agreed that Turkey, after being designated a GSP beneficiary in 1975, has meanwhile demonstrated a "higher level of economic development," meaning that it can be "graduated" from the program.

The changes cannot take effect for at least 60 days following the notification of Congress as well as the countries affected -- a process Trump began Monday with letters to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate.

'Intensive engagement'

The change for India came after "intensive engagement" between New Delhi and Washington, Trump wrote in one letter, the text of which was released by the White House.

"I will continue to assess whether the government of India is providing equitable and reasonable access to its markets, in accordance with the GSP eligibility criteria," the president wrote.

In his letter on Turkey, Trump said the country's economy "has grown and diversified," and noted that Istanbul has already "graduated from other developed countries' GSP programs."

The President of the United States has made taking aim at what he considers imbalanced trade relationships a central plank of his presidency -- sparking a trade war with Beijing that has dragged on for nearly a year.

The US and China eventually agreed to a 90-day truce to work out their differences, and Beijing and Washington have been edging closer to an agreement in recent weeks.

On Friday, the truce was scheduled to end on Friday, but Trump lifted the ultimatum to further increase tariffs, satisfied by progress made in several rounds of talks.

According to the agreement taking shape, Beijing would take steps to lower some barriers on US companies' operations in China and purchase large amounts American agricultural and energy goods if in return, the United States lowered most of the tariffs in return.

However, leading news reports have said significant details remained unresolved.

(Inputs from agencies)