US President Donald Trump will end India's designation as a beneficiary developing nation under a key trade preference program after determining that India has not assured the US of providing "equitable and reasonable access to its markets."
The Generalized System of Preference (GSP) is the largest and oldest US trade preference program and is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.
"I have determined that India has not assured the US that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets. Accordingly, it is appropriate to terminate India's designation as a beneficiary developing country effective June 5, 2019," Mr Trump said in a proclamation on Friday, ignoring the plea made by several top American lawmakers as it will cost American businesses over $300 million in additional tariffs every year.
On March 4, Mr. Trump announced that the US intends to terminate India's designations as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP program. The 60-day notice period ended on May 3.
The Trump administration has prioritized working with the Indian government to ensure that US companies have a level playing field, a senior State Department official told reporters on Thursday, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in for a second time following his spectacular electoral victory in the general election.
Under the GSP program, nearly 2,000 products including auto components and textile material can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing countries meet the eligibility criteria established by the US Congress.
India was the largest beneficiary of the program in 2017 with $5.7 billion in imports to the US given duty-free status and Turkey the fifth largest with $1.7 billion in covered imports, according to a Congressional Research Service report issued in January.