Biden admin sees ‘Make In India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ as challenges for US


Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governance, among many initiatives, ‘Make In India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-sufficiency campaign, has been two of the most successful. Indians too have embraced these two initiatives and have been benefitting from along with some national pride.

However, these two campaigns have not been sitting well with the US, who is one of the primary trade partners for India.

On Wednesday, March 31, the Biden administration listed Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign as a “significant” trade barrier for American businesses.

In addition to this, the US Trade Representative (USTR)’s office last month, had pointed at the “Make in India” initiative as an impediment for import of its products into India.

“US exporters continue to encounter significant tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede imports of US products into India. While the Indian Government has pursued ongoing economic reform efforts, it also continues to promote programs such as ‘Make in India’ that favor domestic production over importation,” the office of USTR said in its National Trade Estimate Report for 2021.

“Additionally in May 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the ‘Self-Reliant India’ initiative to increase self-sufficiency by promoting domestic industry and reducing reliance on foreign suppliers,” the report said, adding the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative to US’ growing list of trade issues with India.

The self-reliant initiative was originally launched to reduce the country’s dependency on Chinese goods and investors, and at the same time boost its economy from the hard-hitting after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The trade representative’s report mentioned in detail US’s trade issues with India, including those that have defied resolution for years such as high tariffs, US’ access to India’s dairy market which is said to be one of the largest in the world, price control on medical devices such as heart stents and knee implant. The USTR report came on a day President Joe Biden announced a multi-trillion-dollar American Jobs Plan to revitalize the country’s economy.

Government officials in New Delhi were not immediately available for comment.