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India providing greater mkt access to US goods; trade gap narrows

twitter-logoPTI | March 7, 2019 | Updated 21:42 IST

By Rajesh Rai New Delhi, Mar 7 (PTI) India is providing greater market access to American goods which is reflected in the declining trade deficit between the two nations, official sources said. The US trade deficit with India has dipped to USD 21.3 billion 2018 from USD 22.9 billion in 2017 and USD 24.4 billion in 2016. The commerce and industry ministry is also conducting an internal assessment to explore options to deal with the situation arising from the US decision to withdraw import duty benefits to about 2,000 Indian goods under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme. The declining trade deficit figures clearly reflects that the US exports to India are increasing. It increased to USD 33.12 billion in 2018 from USD 25.7 billion in 2017. "With this kind of rise in exports, the US claim that India is not giving reasonable market access is not correct," the sources said adding the US companies in all the sectors including goods and services are market leaders in India. The US has claimed that India's import duties are high and American companies from sectors like medical devices are not getting adequate market access. The market share of US firms in coronary stents and knee implants in India too is over 80 per cent. The sources added that India would not take any knee jerk reaction and would decide on its next course of action only after concluding internal assessment. The GSP duty benefits which US provides to developing countries including India are non-reciprocal. Currently, about 121 developing countries including India, Brazil, Afghanistan and Botswana are availing these benefits. The US decision could impact India's exports worth USD 5.6 billion under this scheme. Removal of the benefits would result in imposition of duties by the US on these 2,000 products, making them uncompetitive in the American market in terms of pricing. The US is one of the top trading partners of India. The bilateral trade between the countries has increased to USD 74.5 billion in 2017-18 from USD 64.5 billion in 2016-17. The US is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus, which stood USD 21 billion in 2017-18. PTI RR CS MR

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