India joins a host of other countries who are ticked off about America’s inflated and exceptionalist perception of its own importance in the world. The new presidential administration under Donald Trump came to power on the ‘America first’ mantra, that America should put its own interests before those of other nations.
But America has put itself in a position where it basically runs the show on the global markets, and has integrated itself to the degree that it can’t do anything without affecting everyone else.
Leadership comes with responsibility, and Trump thinks that he can shirk that responsibility and reap only the benefits of being a ‘leader of the free world’.
He has openly called for putting the American economy before that of the US’s trade partners, which has caught them all off guard, somehow, even though he has been promising it for roughly two years.
Now, nations from France to Japan, and multiple nations in between, are promising stiff reprisals to the tariffs that Trump has levied in a bid to bolster domestic growth and prosperity.
The retaliatory measures are a tit-for-tat response, aiming to hit America with tariffs that would equal the amounts imposed upon them. In this case, the newest response comes from India.
The Telegraph India reports:
New Delhi: In a retaliatory move, India has told the WTO that it proposes to raise duties by up to 100 per cent on 20 products such as almonds, apple and specific motorcycles imported from the US from next month, if Washington does not roll back high tariffs on certain steel and aluminium items.
The additional duty proposed to be hiked on these items ranges from 5 per cent to 100 per cent.
“India hereby notifies the Council for Trade in Goods of its decision to suspend concessions or other obligations… that are substantially equivalent to the amount of trade affected by the measures imposed by the United States,” according to a communication by India to the WTO.
It said that the proposed suspension of concessions would be in the form of “an increase in tariffs on selected products originating in the US”.
It also said that India reserved its right to further suspend substantially equivalent concessions and other obligations based on the measures of the US.
India has earlier urged the US to exempt it from the decision to raise import duties on certain steel and aluminium products. The country has proposed this move under the WTO’s Agreement on Safeguards.
On March 9, US President Donald Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war.
Trump signed two proclamations that levied a 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imported from all countries, except Canada and Mexico.
“The suspension will come into effect earlier than June 21, 2018, if the US decides to continue the period of application of the measures. The suspension of concessions will continue until the US’s safeguard measures are lifted,” it added.
India has also stated that America imposed definitive safeguard measures without giving affected members any opportunity for consultations.
“India wishes to clarify that suspension of concessions shall be equivalent to the amount of trade affected by the US’s measures. To this end, India reserves the right to adjust the specific products for which suspension of concessions is effectuated,” it said.
Many of the nations who are being hit by Trump’s tariffs are threatening to do the same to America, which essentially nullifies the perceived benefits of the tariffs but manages to increase the costs of raw materials and damage trade relationships, while violating WTO rules.
But according to Trump, trade wars are ‘easy to win’, and Trump intends to win. And in order to win, everybody else has to lose. That necessarily means that the host of nations seeking relief or exemption from Trump’s tariff measures are not quite likely to get what they want. Or else Trump’s promise to ‘Make America Great Again’ would be made hollow due to the reality that the measures that he has implemented would effectively have no teeth and accomplish nothing, not even bringing someone else down – not if he grants exemptions to everyone who asks for it.