The administration of US President Donald Trump strips India of special trade status

In this file photo taken on November 30, 2018, US President Donald Trump listens to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meet...

In this file photo taken on November 30, 2018, US President Donald Trump listens to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting in the sidelines of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AFP photo)
The administration of US President Donald Trump has announced that it would no longer allow India to have special trade status, amid a deepening row over protectionism.

President Donald Trump confirmed on Friday that his administration will cut off special treatment of India, which is currently exempt from billions in tariffs, on Wednesday.  India had been the largest beneficiary of a scheme that permits it to send some goods to the United States duty-free.

"It is appropriate to terminate India's designation as a beneficiary developing country,” Trump said.

The White House notice claimed that India did not allow the US “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”

According to the New York Times, the US will also tax Indian solar panels and washers.

India's Ministry of Commerce in a statement on Saturday called the development "unfortunate.”

"India as part of our bilateral trade discussions, had offered resolution on significant US requests in an effort to find a mutually acceptable way forward," it said. "It is unfortunate that this did not find acceptance by the US."In March Trump announced that he would scrap preferential treatment programs for India and Turkey because they had failed to provide adequate access to its markets.

The US “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,” the US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) said in statement on March 4.

The GSP program allows “certain products” to enter the US without facing any tariffs, given that countries meet eligibility criteria such as “providing the US with equitable and reasonable market access.”

Established in 1974 and having covered 120 countries, the GSP is the largest and oldest US trade preference program.

India is known to be the world’s main GSP program beneficiary. Ending the program for the country may be the strongest punitive action taken against New Delhi during Trump's presidency.

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