US Senators John Cornyn and Mark Warner, Co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, recently sent a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer urging him to consider delaying the issuance of a proclamation to withdraw India’s generalised system of preferences (GSP) benefits and to maintain an open dialogue with New Delhi.
“While we agree that there are a number of market access issues that can and should be addressed, we do remain concerned that the withdrawal of duty concessions will make Indian exports of eligible products to the United States costlier, as the importer of those products will have to pay a ‘Most Favored Nation’ (MFN), duty which is higher than the rate under GSP. Some of these costs will likely be passed on to American consumers,” the Senators wrote.
“We believe that allowing for continued negotiations beyond the elections would underscore the importance of this bilateral relationship and provide a real opportunity to resolve these market access issues, potentially improving the overall US-India relationship for years to come,” a statement from Senator Cornyn citing the letter said.
Expressing concern over the plan to terminate India’s GSP status, 25 US trade associations sent a letter a few days back to the USTR, urging it to extend talks to reach a mutually agreeable solution. They fear the step in the middle of the Indian elections will not achieve its intended goal of applying pressure for reform.