New Delhi– With US President Joe Biden announcing a steep hike in tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese goods, an opportunity has opened up for India to increase its exports of items such as steel and aluminum as well as medical goods such as facemasks, PPE, syringes & needles and gloves to the American market, according to industry experts and market analysts.

The opportunity for India comes in the backdrop of the strengthening of bilateral economic ties between the two countries.

India and the US had decided to end all bilateral trade disputes that were pending at the World Trade Organization during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington in June 2023.

Following this, the US agreed to withdraw the 25 per cent and 10 per cent import duties on certain steel and aluminum products respectively, that had been earlier imposed “on grounds of national security”.

India had reciprocated by withdrawing its retaliatory duties on American products such as chickpeas, lentils, almonds and walnuts.

“The US move to ramp up duties on Chinese goods provides an opportunity to India and other competitors to chip in the supply gap. Of the products affected by additional duties on China, India has opportunities in facemasks, PPE, syringes & needles, medical gloves, aluminum and iron & steel,” said Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) President Ashwani Kumar.

After the trade disputes were settled in one-go following PM Modi’s talks in Washington, the US subsequently agreed to allow the import of 3,36,000 tonnes of steel and aluminum from India with the waiver of additional duties that were imposed under a national security law by the erstwhile Donald Trump administration in 2018.

“Now with a greater opportunity arising following the hike in the tariff on Chinese goods, the exports of Indian steel and aluminum products are expected to accelerate,” said a senior SAIL official who did not want to be named.

However, at the same time, there are concerns in the steel sector that China, which has excess capacity, may resort to dumping its steel output in other markets, including India.

“China is sitting on overcapacity in many sectors and thus the threat of dumping, in any case, not ruled out and more so when an important market is closed for their exports. However, I am sure industry and the government will be keeping a close watch on imports and if surge or dumping happens, DGTR will take appropriate action to safeguard our industry,” said FIEO chief Ashwani Kumar. (IANS)