New Delhi: The trade secretary of United States Wilbur Ross on Tuesday condemned India for its ‘unjustified’ high import duties and ‘overly restrictive’ entry barriers, while flagging concerns over the proposed data localization norms for FinTech and e-commerce companies such as Amazon.
Ross said, “Currently, US businesses face significant market access barriers in India. These include both tariff and non-tariff barriers, as well as multiple practices and regulations that disadvantage foreign companies. India's average applied tariff rate of 13.8% and that remains the highest of any major world economy. These are not justified percentages. They are way too high.”
The Trump government had been putting pressure on India to lower import duties on a host of products and the failure of the dialogue to settle prickly trade disputes has prompted the US to intimidate a withdrawal of concessional duty access for several Indian products under the GSP Programme.
Ross at a conference said, “India is already the world's third largest economy, and by 2030, it will become the world's largest consumer market because of the rapid growth of the middle class. Yet, today, India is only the US's 13th largest export market, due to overly restrictive market access barriers. Meanwhile, the US is India's largest export market, accounting for something like 20% of the total. There is a real imbalance and it's an imbalance we must strive to counteract.”
India has trade surplus of around $21 billion as it exported more goods than it imported, while on the services side, it had a surplus of $3 billion.
However, Ross also acknowledged Indian government offered greater opportunity to the company of US. But these co-operations need to operate in a ‘transparent environment supported by the rule of law.’