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US agrees to extend GSP benefits till new govt is formed


In a significant development for the economy, the US has agreed to extend trade benefits to India under the Genera-lised System of Preferences (GSP) programme till the formation of a new government in New Delhi and finalisation of a new trade package with it, say sources as per reports.


"The GSP review is on hold for now…This is the result of some adroit diplomacy on our part from the Ministry of External Affairs, Commerce, PMO and the Indian mission there (in the US)," a top Indian official involved in the talks was quoted by a report.


Sources also said that the government assured the US it would not import oil from Iran in return for the extension of GSP benefits. The decision to not withdraw the benefits from India was informed by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) over the weekend. The deadline to withdraw the GSP benefits was May 4.


It is pertinent to note that India gets GSP benefits worth $ 5.6 billion, out of the $ 46 billion worth of goods it exports to the US, by means of zero or reduced tariffs. It is given mostly to labour-intensive sectors like leather, jewellery and engineering, among others.


Presently, India enjoys a trade surplus of $ 21.27 billion with the US, according to 2017-18 data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, as per the report.


Source: Exim News Service: New Delhi, May 14


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