India retaliates against US Section 232 tariffs

India is proposing increases for import duties on 30 products from the United States including certain steel goods, in a tit-for-tat move against the latter’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Flat-rolled coated steel, stainless hot-rolled steel coil, grain-oriented electrical steel, steel spring and several other structural and construction steel products will be subject to a 15% increase in tariffs, according to a document filed by India to the World Trade Organization dated June 14.

India had lodged a complaint with the WTO in May to protest the US’s imposition of a 25% duty on imports of Indian steel and a 10% tax on its aluminium products after its unsuccessful request for an exemption from them.

India will increase tariffs on various US farm products by 10-20%, in addition to those it is seeking raise on iron and steel imports.

The Indian government said in the document that its retaliatory duties would be “substantially equivalent” in value to the amount of trade affected by the steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by the US, estimated to be worth $241 million. The US imposed these tariffs following its Section 232 investigation on whether such imports posed a risk to national security

India exported 743,020 tonnes of steel products to the US in 2017. The majority of this - 392,018 tonnes - consisted of line pipe.

This was followed by 93,450 tonnes of hot-dipped galvanized sheet and strip, 76,331 tonnes of semi-finished steel and 32,404 tonnes of mechanical tubing.

The Indian Steel Association had said in early March that the US’s 25% tariff on its steel products would distort the South Asian country’s domestic market “considerably” it would be on the receiving end of cargoes being diverted by steel-surplus nations.

India is just one of many nations that have retaliated against the US over its Section 232 tariffs.

The US said on Thursday that certain steel products from five countries would be excluded from its tariffs to account for the needs of its downstream industries, but India was not one of these nations.

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