India plays down end to US trade preferences


New Delhi (AFP)

India played down on Tuesday President Donald Trump's intention to end certain trade preferences, saying the impact on New Delhi's exports to the US would be minor.

Annual Indian exports to the United States are close to $80 billion, but those covered by the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) are worth just $5.6 billion, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said.

"GSP withdrawal will not have a significant impact on India's exports to the US," the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency quoted Wadhawan as saying.

Although India is the biggest beneficiary of the GSP, Wadhawan added that the duty benefit from the GSP was just $190 million per year.

The US trade chief's office said Monday that Washington intended to terminate both India and Turkey's GSP designations "because they no longer comply with the statutory eligibility criteria".

India "has implemented a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on United States commerce," the Office of the US Trade Representative said in a statement.

The changes cannot take effect for at least 60 days, a process Trump began Monday with letters to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate.