A top US Senator has slammed Donald Trump for "damaging" trade ties with India, saying his actions are hurting California almond growers who export more than USD 650 million worth of nuts to the country every year.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein's criticism of the US President came days after India announced a hike in customs duties on as many as 28 US products, including almond, pulses and walnut, in response to higher tariffs imposed by Washington on Indian products like steel and aluminium.
"India just placed a 75 per cent tariff on almonds in response to President Trump's trade war. His actions are hurting Californians," Senator Feinstein said.
"California almond exports to India are worth more than USD 650 million a year. The president must stop damaging trade relations with our allies," she said.
Almond growers in the US are a worried lot as authorities last month predicted a record California almond crop for the upcoming production year. According to the Almond alliance of California, its almond export is being badly hit by retaliatory tariffs from both China and India. California almond orchards are expected to produce 2.50 billion pounds of nuts this year, up 8.69 per cent from last year's 2.30 billion-pound crop, it said.
The Indian move is also seen in retaliation to Donald Trump's decision terminating India's designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade programme after determining that it has not assured the US that it will provide "equitable and reasonable access to its markets".
The suspension became effective June 5. India's retaliatory tariffs came into effect on Sunday.
Apple and almond are some of the other American agricultural products to be impacted by India's retaliatory tariffs. The move will hurt American exporters of these 28 items as they will have to pay higher duties, making those items much more expensive in the Indian market.
Earlier, the list included 29 goods but India has removed artemia, a kind of shrimp, from the list.
The country would get about USD 217 million additional revenue from such imports.
America had in March last year imposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent import duty on aluminium products. Earlier, there was no duty on these goods.
India's exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were at USD 26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.