India retaliates, imposes high duty on US almonds, walnuts

India is the world’s biggest buyer of almonds from the USA. India raised import duties on the commodity by 20 per cent, a government order today said, thus joining the European Union and China in retaliating against President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes on steel and aluminium.

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The Indian Government infuriated by Washington’s refusal to exempt it from the new tariffs also imposed a 120 percent duty on the import of walnuts in the strongest action yet against the United States. The move to increase tariffs from 4th of August will also cover a group of other farm, steel and iron products.

The decision came a day after the European Union said it would begin charging 25 per cent import duties on a range of U.S. products on Friday, in response to the new U.S. tariffs.

Earlier last month, India sought an exemption from the new U.S. tariffs, saying its steel and aluminium exports were smaller in comparison to other suppliers. But the request was ignored, prompting India to launch a complaint against the United States at the World Trade Organization.

“India’s tariff retaliation is within the discipline of trade tariffs of the World Trade Organization,” said steel secretary Aruna Sharma.

The tariff rates were issued late on Wednesday and the commerce ministry also named some varieties of almonds, apples, chickpeas, lentils, walnuts and artemia that would carry higher import taxes. Most of these are purchased from the United States.

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Walnuts have gone from 100 per cent duty to 120 percent, the government note said.

India also raised duties on some grades of iron and steel products. In May it had given a list of products to the WTO that it said could incur higher tariffs.

An official from the steel ministry said at the time that the new tariffs were intended to show displeasure at the U.S. action.

“It is an appropriate signal. I am hopeful that all of this (trade war) will die down. In my view this is not in the interest of the global economy,” said Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman of the Indian government’s policy thinktank Niti Aayog.

 

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