Terming the Indian import duties as ‘too high’, the US on Monday asked India to lower tariffs as high rates ‘could harm’ the bilateral trade and economic ties.
US Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who is in India on a five-day official visit, asked India to ease restrictions on imports of products like medical equipment, fruits and capital goods.
Urging India to cut duties on imports of American manufactured products, US Commerce Secretary said such high tariffs would cause ‘significant harm’ to the business ties of the two countries in the long run.
“If India is not able to readily access US products or attract strategic investments from US businesses, our progress together could slow down. In the long-term, this could cause significant harm,” Bryson said at a meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) in Delhi.
“There are many tariffs on American products that are still too high. Capital goods such as power-generating equipment face a basic duty of 7.5 per cent and an effective rate of 22 per cent when taxes are added. Some medical products also have a 7.5 per cent rate. Grapes, citrus, and other fruits face a 30 per cent duty.”
Bryson urged Indian entrepreneurs to increase investments in the US saying India’s foreign direct investment in the country was only $3 billion, far below the potential. If investments made through other countries are included, total Indian investments in the US would be $7 billion.
The United States Trade Development Agency on Monday signed two deals with Indian firms to help develop clean energy projects. The deals will generate Indian demand for US equipment worth over $250 million.
Under the first deal, the agency will support a feasibility study for development of a rural micro-grid solar power project that will bring electricity to remote villages in India.
The second deal is related to the implementation of smart grid technology in Kolkata. India is the 13th largest trading partner of the United States and its 17th largest merchandise export market.