India opens dairy and poultry markets to US in hopes to get back ‘special trade status’

indica News Bureau-


In a new development, India has offered to partially open up its poultry and dairy markets in a bid for a limited trade deal during U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official visit to the country this month, sources said.

According to Reuters, India- the largest producer of milk in the world- had earlier restricted daily imports livelihoods of 80 million rural households involved in the industry, but the new government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to re-build relations with the US and seems to be stopping at nothing to make it happen during Trump’s visit to India later this month.

The United States is India’s second-largest trade partner after China, and bilateral goods and services trade climbed to a record $142.6 billion in 2018. The United States had a $23.2 billion goods trade deficit in 2019 with India, its 9th largest trading partner in goods, reported Reuters.

To make the trade -deals smoother and in hopes to get back the ‘special trade status’, India has offered to allow imports of U.S. chicken legs, turkey and produce such as blueberries and cherries, Indian government sources said, and has offered to cut tariffs on chicken legs from 100% to 25%. U.S. negotiators want that tariff cut to 10%.

Along with this, the Modi government is also offering to allow some access to India’s dairy market, but with a 5% tariff and quotas, the sources said. But dairy imports would need a certificate they are not derived from animals that have consumed feeds that include internal organs, blood meal or tissues of ruminants.

New Delhi has also offered to lower its 50% tariffs on very large motorcycles made by Harley-Davidson <HOG.N>, a tax that was a particular irritant for Trump, who has labelled India the “tariff king.” The change would be largely symbolic because few such motorcycles are sold in India.

The US President had suspended India’s special trade status in 2019 and with his upcoming visit to India, the government hopes that he will restore the ‘special trade status’ that was granted to India in 1970, if everything goes right.

The special trade status was revoked after the Modi government put price caps on medical devices, such as cardiac stents and knee implants, and introduced new data localization requirements and e-commerce restrictions. But now the government is hopeful that in exchange for tariff reductions and other concessions, the special status will be reinstated.

Trump will be feted in Modi’s home state of Gujarat, then hold talks in New Delhi and attend a reception that the hosts have promised will be bigger than the one organised for former president Barack Obama in 2015.