June 11, 2018

India’s trade-off with Trumponomics

Shankkar Aiyar, Visiting Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute, writes on why the spectre of trade wars is looming large, in this New Indian Express article. Excerpts:


"Chaos! It’s a word you could use to characterize what US President Donald Trump has triggered across the world by blending the abstract with the arbitrary. It is believed that those inside the administration seem to know as little of the when, where, why and what of Trump’s actions as those outside. An apocryphal story doing the rounds in Washington suggests the US and China had almost closed a deal to avert a trade war. And then Trump fired the tariff salvo.


On Friday, just before leaving for the G 7 meeting, Trump named EU and Canada and tweeted: “Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!” After hurling a series of accusations, on blocking US goods with barriers, Trump kind of signed off saying: “Looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries. If it doesn’t happen, we come out even better!”  


India is in the crosshairs, too. Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu is set to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer next week in Washington—the quip among negotiators is whether a Prabhu-Lighthizer pact can be binding on Trumponomics. The headline optics is about zero duties for Harley Davidson bikes and the curbs on spouses of IT professionals in the US on H1B visas. The battle is bigger and more complex."


Read the full article here.

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