India in talks with China, Australia, New Zealand to crack mega trade deal

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jun 20, 2018

New Delhi: India is holding bilateral dialogues with China, Australia and New Zealand to get them to agree to less ambitious tariff cuts for sensitive products. The aim is to end the logjam in the negotiations for the mega regional trade bloc, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The pact is being negotiated between 16 countries including the 10-member ASEAN, Japan and Korea.

“All member countries negotiating the RCEP now agree that as members may have different sensitivities with each other, efforts must be made bilaterally to sort them out and reach a common ground. Without such efforts, it would not be possible to reach an agreement between 16 members,” an official said.

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Higher import duties on strategic US imports to kick in

Source: Business Standard, Jun 21, 2018

New Delhi: Strategic imports from the US, including items across the board such as dry fruits, shrimps, chemicals, and motorcycles, are all set to attract higher duty from Thursday, 21st June onwards.

Set to bring out the official notification during the day, India has prepared a crafty list to counter US President Donald Trump’s repeated threats of cutting trade while aiming to reduce the impact on domestic businesses. It hopes to rake in a total $240 million worth of duties through higher tax by up to 50 per cent on certain items.

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Government boost to manufacturers, eases import of used machinery

Source: The Economic Times, Jun 19, 2018

The government has made it easier to import used machinery, which will make manufacturing of mobile phones and equipment smoother for companies in India.

According to the latest notification by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF), used plant machinery having residual life of at least five years for manufacturing electronics and electrical items would not require explicit permission from the ‘hazardous and other waste committee’.

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Don’t blame oil for India’s rising trade deficit

Source: Live, Jun 19, 2018

The widening merchandise trade deficit is reason for concern. It’s easy to pin the blame on high oil prices. However, oil prices were much higher in fiscal year 2013-14, the year of the taper tantrum, but the trade deficit was lower then. More fundamental factors are at play.

Crude oil imports have been the Achilles’ heel of India’s external trade. But Brent crude prices in 2013-14 were more than double the average for 2017-18. The oil import bill in 2017-18 was much lower than in 2013-14. Why then did the trade deficit shoot up from $134 billion in 2013-14 to $161 billion in 2017-18?

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India set to launch US$ 240 mn retaliatory tariffs on US imports

Source: Live, Jun 18, 2018

New Delhi: India is likely to introduce retaliatory tariffs worth $240 million next week on a revised list of 30 items imported from the US to counter the American move to unilaterally hike duties on Indian steel and aluminium. The move comes at a time when India has decided to negotiate a “trade package” with the US to ease tensions between the two sides.

India on Wednesday notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO) a revised list of 30 items imported from the US, including almonds, apples, phosphoric acid and motorcycles with engine capacity more than 800 cc (including Harley-Davidson Inc.), on which it intends to impose retaliatory tariffs. Earlier, on 18 May, India had given the WTO a list of 20 items imported from the US worth $166 million on which it was proposing to hike tariffs. However, in the revised list, India has brought down the proposed maximum additional duties from 100% (on walnuts) to 50% (on Harley-Davidson).

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India’s exports hit 6-month high; trade deficit widens as imports up 14.85%

download (1).jpgSource: Business Standard, Jun 16, 2018

New Delhi: A rise in receipts of petroleum, engineering and pharmaceutical products boosted May’s export growth figures to a six-month high of 20.18 per cent, up from 5.71 per cent in April.

Even then the trade deficit widened to a four-month high of $14.62 billion, compared to the $13.7 billion deficit in April as imports rose by 14.85 per cent during the month, compared to the 4.60 per cent rise in April. This could pressurise the current account deficit in the first quarter of the current financial year after it stood at 1.9 per cent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2017-18, compared to 2.1 per cent in the third quarter.

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India has trade deficit with 10 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members

Source: The Economic Times, Jun 17, 2018

India had trade deficit with as many as 10 member countries, including China, South Korea and Australia, of the RCEP grouping of 16 nations which have been negotiating a mega trade pact since November 2012.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) bloc comprises 10 Asean group members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

According to the commerce ministry data, India’s trade deficit — the difference between imports and exports — with seven countries (Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand) of RCEP has in fact increased in 2017-18 as compared to the previous fiscal.

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