Washington, March 05 (KMS): In what could be termed a setback for India, the United States has decided to end preferential trade status for New Delhi, under a scheme which allows certain products to enter the US duty-free, media reports said.

President Donald Trump said India had failed to assure the US it would provide reasonable access to its markets.

It is the latest US attempt to counter what it sees as unfair trade practices. Mr Trump has pledged to reduce US trade deficits, and has repeatedly called out India for high tariffs.

As a result, he directed the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office to remove India from a programme that grants it preferential trade treatment.

Preferential trade treatment for India currently allows $5.6bn (£4.3bn) worth of exports to enter the US duty-free.

In a letter to Congress, the US President said India had “not assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India”.

Under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme, certain products can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing country meets a set of criteria established by Congress.

India said the US move would have a “minimal economic impact”.

India’s Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said the withdrawal from the GSP would have “minimal economic impact of $190m (£144m) on India”.

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