US imposes duty on Indian gold jewellery

Washington, June 29:

Gold jewellery and brass lamps from India figure among 21 products from various countries that will no longer get duty-free treatment under the US Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

However, the US will continue GSP eligibility for 115 exports from 19 countries whose trade exceeded statutory limits in 2006, US Trade Representative (USTR) Susan C Schwab announced today after an annual review. These had an import value of $618 million in 2006.

Other products removed from GSP eligibility include brake and brake parts and ferrozirconium from Brazil; kola nuts from Cote d’Ivoire; wiring harnesses from the Philippines; gold jewellery from Thailand; and methanol from Venezuela.

GSP eligibility for these products had been terminated to advance a more targeted and effective programme to promote economic development under a 1974 progra-mme providing duty-free treatme-nt to nearly 5,000 products exported to the US from 131 beneficiary developing countries, Schwab sai-d. In 2006, US imports from beneficiary developing countries under the GSP programme totalled $32.6 billion, a 22 per cent increase over 2005. Of these, duty-free imports were valued at about $4.8 billion.

The majority of products imported from beneficiary countries are eligible for GSP benefits, with a significant exception being textile and apparel products.

Each year, the US conducts an annual review under the GSP programme to determine if there are certain imports currently eligible for benefits that could compete effectively in the US market if imported at normal tariff rates.

Ordered after the collapse of world trade talks, the review looked at a proposal to limit, suspend or withdraw trade preferences to India and a dozen other countries.