New Delhi, Jun 1: Days after the new dispensation under Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to office and soon came the US decision to terminate India's designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade programme, the government said on Saturday that its requests to find a mutually acceptable way forward was not acceptance by the US.
However, the Union Commerce Ministry statement said: “We are confident that the two nations will continue to work together intensively for further growing these ties in a mutually beneficial manner.
''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 is unfortunate that this did not find acceptance by the US."
The US has with effect from June 5, 2019 announced withdrawal of India’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits. These are unilateral, non-reciprocal and non-discriminatory benefits extended by some developed countries to developing countries.
India, like the US and other nations shall always uphold its national interest in these matters. ''We have significant development imperatives and concerns and our people also aspire for better standards of living. This will remain the guiding factor in the Government’s approach,'' it said.
Under the GSP programme, nearly 2,000 products including auto components and textile materials can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing countries meet the eligibility criteria established by Congress.
India was the largest beneficiary of the programme in 2017 with $5.7 billion in imports to the US given duty-free status.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said, "US strikes against the re-elected Namo Governnment by withdrawing the special trade status. How should we respond? Depends on how we regard the US. With US there is no free lunch."
This matter was going to be crucial for setting the tone for Indo-US relations, he maintained.
He also wrote: "I have indication that the Chinese are also going to get tough unless we handle this cleverly and now. The US action was known as far back as December 2018 but MEA and NSA especially latter which had hegemony on US and China matters, had been relaxed perhaps because of Model Code". (UNI)