India recently rejected US claims of imposing ‘tremendously high’ tariffs, saying its import duties are within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms. India’s import duties are consistent with the bound rates that it is entitled to at the WTO and comparable to more liberal developing economies and some developed economies, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said.

Duties imposed on imported goods are called applied rates and the extent to which a country can raise those duties are termed bound rates. On developmental considerations, there may be a few tariff peaks, which is true for almost all economies, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement. India-US bilateral trade increased to $74.5 bn in 2017-18 from $64.5 bn in 2016-17. India has a trade surplus with the United States, which has also raised this issue.

The Ministry also said due to various initiatives resulting in enhanced purchase of US goods like oil and natural gas and coal, the US trade deficit with India has substantially reduced in 2017 and 2018. “The reduction is estimated to be over $4 bn in 2018, with further reduction expected in future years on account of factors like the growing demand for energy and civilian aircraft in India,” The statement said. This reduction, it added, has happened in the face of a rising overall US trade deficit, including with some other major economies.