Washington is reportedly not rolling back its decision to terminate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the generalised system of preferences (GSP) scheme, terming the suspension a ‘done deal’. President Donald Trump on March 4 announced US intention for the same. The 60-day notice period ended on May 3. A notification is now expected.

The Trump administration has prioritised working with the Indian Government to ensure that US companies have a level playing field, a news agency reported quoting an anonymous senior State Department official. Under the GSP programme, nearly 2,000 products including auto components and textile materials can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing countries meet the eligibility criteria established by US Congress.

India was the largest beneficiary of the program in 2017 with $5.7 bn in imports, according to a Congressional Research Service report issued in January. If India agrees to address policy issues, including those related to data localisation and e-commerce that stifled global investment, the US Government can continue to make significant progress moving forward, the official said.

Asserting that there is every reason to believe that the GSP suspension will move forward, the official reiterated that India needs to address some of its major concerns, in particular those related to market access and data localisation. Bilateral trade is now worth $142 bn. US exports to India last year increased 28 per cent. The trade deficit for goods and services stands at about $24 bn, which is a 11.9 per cent reduction.