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Trump Called a Meeting with Indian Prime Minister to Negotiate Tariffs

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday asked India to withdraw retaliatory tariffs that New Delhi imposed this month, calling the duties “unacceptable.”

India slapped higher tariffs on 28 U.S. products following Washington’s withdrawal this month of essential trade privileges for Delhi.

“I look forward to speaking with PM Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high tariffs against the US, just recently increased the tariffs even further,” Trump said on Twitter.

“This is unacceptable, and the tariffs must be withdrawn!” said Donald Trump, who will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at this week’s G20 summit in Japan.

India’s trade ministry didn’t immediately respond to a Reuter’s email seeking remark.

Trump’s remarks could additionally worsen a trade row that has led to tit-for-tat tariffs from India and the United States and created an unease over the depth of their security alliance.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Delhi on Wednesday, sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India, promising a renewed focus on negotiating better ties but giving few specifics of how they would overcome disputes over trade and investment.

Trump scrapped trade privileges for India under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), below which New Delhi was the largest beneficiary that allowed duty-free exports of up to $5.6 BN.

India initially issued an order in June last year to raise import taxes as high as 120% on a slew of U.S. items, incensed by Washington’s refusal to exempt it from higher steel and aluminum tariffs.

However, New Delhi repeatedly delayed raising tariffs as the two nations engaged in trade talks. Trade between them stood at about $142.1 BN in 2018.

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