India Hits Back On Trump Tariffs With $240 Million Levy On U.S. Imports

After failing to reach an agreement with U.S. trade negotiators, India has announced sweeping new tariffs on a wide range of American-made imports. The tariffs, which take effect Sunday, will hit 28 products representing $240 million worth of goods.

Affected items include almonds, apples, walnuts and other agricultural products. India is the largest buyer of U.S. almonds and second-largest importer of U.S. apples. In a notification published June 16, India’s Ministry of Finance said it imposed the tariffs after “being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest to do so.”

The move comes a year after the country first threatened to impose tariffs in retaliation for the Trump administration’s decision to levy tariffs on steel and aluminum shipped into the U.S. from India.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration upped the ante with additional tariffs on a number of other Indian goods, including automobile parts and chemicals. American officials have complained that India, which this year became the world’s fifth-largest economy, unfairly restricts foreign access to some of its most lucrative domestic markets, ranging from technology products to spirits and motorcycles.

It’s the latest trade imbroglio for President Donald Trump, whose embrace of tariffs as both an instrument of foreign policy and as a negotiating tool has also sparked multi-billion dollar trade disputes with China and Mexico.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to visit India this month as part of ongoing bilateral talks between the two countries. Fresh off a sweeping victory in recently concluded national elections, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he remains committed to maintaining strong ties between the U.S. and India.

On Friday, the rupee hit a two-week low against the U.S. dollar, closing at 69.80. Year-to-date, the rupee is down .04 percent vs. the American dollar.

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