While import duty on walnut has been hiked to 120 per cent from 30 per cent, the same for shelled almond has been increased to Rs 120/kg from Rs 100/kg earlier. The import duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal has been increased to 70 per cent from 30 per cent earlier, while that on lentils has been hiked to 40 per cent from 30 per cent.
The ‘tit-for-tat’ duty hike decision by India is similar to that of European Union and China which decided to levy higher import duties on a variety of US products in retaliation to the protectionist policies adopted by America.
On March 9, US President Donald Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war. India has said the duty imposed by the US has affected steel exports by USD 198.6 million and aluminium shipments by USD 42.4 million.
India has also dragged the US to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism over the imposition of import duties on steel and aluminium. India exports steel and aluminium products worth about USD 1.5 billion to the US every year. India’s exports to the US in 2016-17 stood at USD 42.21 billion, while imports were USD 22.3 billion.