Washington. The United States is reviewing the eligibility of India, Indonesia and Kazakhstan for a program that allows duty-free imports of certain goods, the US Trade Representative's Office said on Thursday (13/04).
USTR said it launched the reviews over concerns India and Indonesia were not complying with rules of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program on market access, and Kazakhstan was violating GSP rules on worker rights.
"We hope that India, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan will work with us to address the concerns that led to these new reviews," Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish said.
President Donald Trump has taken a hard line on trade, vowing to slap tariffs on countries that he says use unfair trade practices.
The review comes as Trump has threatened some $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to try to force changes in China's industrial policies. Washington accuses Chinese firms of stealing trade secrets of US companies and forcing them into joint ventures to acquire their technology. Beijing denies this charge.
The United States ran a $375 billion goods trade deficit with China last year, while the 2017 US deficits reached $23 billion with India, $13 billion with Indonesia and $234 million with Kazakhstan, according to US Census Bureau data.
In October, USTR announced it would assess the eligibility of countries in the GSP program, which provides duty-free treatment for goods from about 120 poor and developing countries.
The USTR said India's review is partially based on petitions filed by the US dairy and medical device industries.
"India has implemented a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on US commerce," the USTR statement said.
Indonesia's review is based on concerns over its compliance with the GSP program's services and investment criterion, it said.
A petition from the AFL-CIO US labor federation is the basis for the Kazakhstan review. The AFL-CIO alleges Kazakhstan "has not taken steps to afford internationally recognized worker rights," USTR said.
India is the largest GSP beneficiary at $5.6 billion, Indonesia is fourth at $2 billion and Kazahkstan is 12th at $145 million, USTR said.
Bolivia, Ecuador, Georgia, Iraq, Thailand, Laos and Uzbekistan are undergoing previously announced GSP reviews, USTR said.