Imports Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union Government constituted a high-level task force under Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to identify various items and policy interventions to reduce dependence on imports. It will suggest ways to cut import of those items which can be manufactured or explored in the country. The task force includes secretaries from Departments of Commerce, Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Revenue, Skill Development, Defence Production, Petroleum, Steel, Electronics and Telecommunications.
The move holds significance as India is heavily dependent on imports of several items such as oil, machinery, electronic hardware, pharmaceuticals ingredients including (active pharmaceuticals ingredients), gold and chemicals. On an average, India’s imports stand at around US $450 billion per year. In financial year 2017-18, the inbound shipments grew about 20% to US $460 billion.
India’s oil imports during same fiscal had risen by 25.47% to US $109.11 billion. Though increase in imports of intermediates and raw materials reflects boost in economic activities, but the inbound shipments of final goods impact domestic manufacturers. Earlier, concerns were raised over high dependence on pharmaceutical ingredients from China by trade experts.
India has notified higher tariffs on 29 items imported from United States (US). This is was in retaliation against US announcement imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium items — 25% and 10% respectively — imported from all countries except Canada and Mexico in March 2018 to compensate from loss of revenue.
The 29 items includes agricultural products such as almonds, apples, chickpeas, lentils, and walnuts, and industrial inputs such as some grades of iron and steel products. These higher tariffs amounting to $240 million will come into effect from August 2018, leaving room for further discussions between US and India before new rates are implemented. It follows India’s notification to World Trade Organization (WTO) that it was imposing additional tariffs on 30 items in retaliation for US duty on steel and aluminium. These additional duties were aimed at helping government earn an additional $241 million, equivalent to amount of iron and steel trade affected by US measures. The latest notification does not mention tariff hike on 800 cc (or more) motorcycles as it was earlier notified in 30 items list to WTO.