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India's import duties not high; within global trade norms of WTO: Govt

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Indias import duties not high; within global trade norms of WTO: Govt
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New Delhi:  Rejecting US claims of imposing "tremendously high" tariffs, India Tuesday said its import duties are not high and are within the norms of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"We do not agree with that at all. Our tariffs (import duties) are very consistent with the bound rates that we are entitled to in the WTO," Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan told reporters here.

"Our tariffs are very comparable to more liberal developing economies and some developed economies," he added.

He said India's tariffs are within its bound rates under the WTO commitments, and on the average are well below those rates.

Duties which are imposed on imported goods are called applied rates and the extent to which a country can increase those duties are known as bound rates.

India's trade weighted average tariffs are 7.6 per cent, which is comparable with the most open developing economies, and some developed economies.

The commerce ministry, in a statement, said on developmental considerations, there may be a few tariff peaks, which is true for almost all economies.

US President Donald Trump had claimed that India is a "tariff king" and imposes "tremendously high" tariffs on American products like Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The bilateral trade has increased to USD 74.5 billion in 2017-18 from USD 64.5 billion in 2016-17. India has a trade surplus with the US. America has also raised this issue.

The ministry also said due to various initiatives resulting in enhanced purchase of US goods like oil and natural gas and coal, the US trade deficit with India has substantially reduced in 2017 and 2018.

"The reduction is estimated to be over USD 4 billion in 2018, with further reduction expected in future years on account of factors like the growing demand for energy and civilian aircraft in India," it said.

This reduction, it added, has happened in the face of a rising overall US trade deficit, including with some other major economies.

"India is also a thriving market for US services and e-commerce companies like Amazon, Uber, Google and Facebook with billions of dollars of revenue," it said.

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