President Donald Trump should delay his decision to terminate the preferential trade status granted to India till the national elections in the country get over, several influential US lawmakers, including Democratic Party presidential aspirant Tulsi Gabbard, said recently. Gabbard acknowledged at a conference that Indo-US trade ties are facing a challenge.

The termination of the generalised system of preferences should be delayed so that a non-political conversation can be held on the issue, Gabbard said at a recent conference on, “The US-India Partnership: Economic, Immigration & Strategic Issues.”

Trump this month informed the US Congress about his intent to terminate the designation of India as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP programme that facilitates duty free import of certain products from underdeveloped countries to help grow their economies.

India was the largest beneficiary of the programme in 2017 with $5.7 bn in imports to the United States given duty-free status, according to a January report of the US Congressional Research Service. Republican Congressman George Holding, who is co-chair of the Congressional India Caucus, said India has been in the GSP for three decades and the time before general elections is not right to address that, according to a report.

Swadesh Chatterjee, Chair of US-India Friendship Council, said Trump’s decision would impact more than 10 per cent of the total goods and services between the United States and India and this will definitely create some issues between the two nations.