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India proposes to raise customs duty on 30 US products



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India has now submitted a revised list of 30 items — including motorcycle, certain iron and steel goods, boric acid and lentils — to the WTO on which it proposes to raise customs duty by up to 50 per cent.

As duties hiked by the US on certain steel and aluminium products would have implications of about $241 million on India, the rise in tariffs proposed by New Delhi too would have an equal implication on America.

“The US would be collecting $241 million worth of duties by hiking tariffs on certain steel and aluminium items from India, we also proposed to withdraw concessions of the similar amount from these 30 products imported by India from the US,” a source said.

Earlier in May, India proposed to raise duties by up to 100 per cent on 20 products such as almonds, apple and specific motorcycles imported from the US.

The additional duty proposed to be hiked on these items ranges from 10 per cent to 100 per cent.

“The revision is being provided to adjust the products and the tariff rates in accordance with India’s rights reserved vide its notification to the Council for Trade in Goods contained in the WTO document…of May 18, 2018.

“India hereby reiterates its decision to suspend concessions or other obligations notified to the Council for Trade in Goods on May 18, 2018…of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and Article 8.2 of the Agreement on Safeguards, that are substantially equivalent to the amount of trade affected by the measures imposed by the United States,” according to a communication by India to WTO.

It said that the proposed suspension of concessions or other obligations takes the form of an increase in tariffs on selected products originating in the US, based on the measures of America.

“India reserves its right to further suspend substantially equivalent concessions and other obligations based on the trade impact resulting from the application of the measures of the US,” it added.

The country has proposed this move under the WTO Agreement on Safeguards.

On March 9, US President Donald Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items, a move that has sparked fears of a global trade war.

Trump signed two proclamations that levied a 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imported from all countries except Canada and Mexico.

Earlier India had stated that these suspensions will come into effect earlier than June 21, 2018, in case the US decides to continue the period of application of the measures.

It said that the duty imposed by America has affected steel exports by $198.6 million, while the same on aluminium was $42.4 million.

The other items include chickpeas, fresh apple, walnut, refined palmolein, motorcycle with engine capacity over 800 cc, diagnostic reagents and threaded nuts.

India has also dragged the US to the World Trade Organisations dispute settlement mechanism over the imposition of import duties on steel and aluminium.

India’s exports of steel and aluminium products to America stood at about $1.5 billion every year. Its exports to the US in 2016-17 stood at $42.21 billion, while imports were $22.3 billion.


Sensex snaps 8-day winning run, dives 222 points on profit booking





Mumbai | Snapping its eight-day winning streak, the BSE benchmark Sensex declined by over 222 points on Friday to end at 38,164.61 as investors booked profits after Fitch Ratings cut India’s growth forecast.

The 30-share index opened on a positive note at 38,452.47, but soon succumbed to heavy selling pressure, touching an intra-day low of 38,089.36. It finally closed at 38,164.61, down by 222.14 points, or 0.58 percent.

On similar lines, the NSE Nifty shed 64.15 points, or 0.56 percent, to finish at 11,456.90. Fitch Ratings Friday cut India’s GDP growth forecast for the next fiscal to 6.8 percent from 7 percent estimated earlier on weaker than expected economic momentum.

Tata Motors was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, tumbling 2.47 percent, followed by Reliance Industries (2.44 percent), Maruti (1.84 percent), SBI (1.76 percent) and Bajaj Finance (1.23 percent). NTPC emerged as the biggest gainer in the index, spurting 3.67 percent.

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Sensex rises for 8th session, ends marginally higher





Mumbai | Continuing its upward journey for the eighth consecutive session, market benchmark BSE Sensex ended marginally higher on Wednesday, following gains in Infosys, HDFC twins and L&T amid uninterrupted capital inflows by foreign funds.

However, gains were capped tracking weakness in Asian shares that slipped from six-month highs after a lackluster session as investors took profits ahead of a policy decision by the US Federal Reserve amid a report of US concerns that China is pushing back against American demands in trade talks.

The 30-share index began the session on a firm note at 38,433.86 and rallied to hit the session’s high of 38,489.81 on steady inflow of buying by foreign funds as well as retail investors.

However, emergence of profit-booking and losses in select heavyweight stocks on expiry of March series derivative contracts, the index turned negative and hit a low of 38,316.21 before returning in positive terrain to close the day higher by 23.28 points, or 0.06 percent, to 38,386.75. The barometer had rallied about 1,500 points in the previous seven sessions.

The broader NSE Nifty, however, ended 11.35 points, or 0.10 percent lower at 11,521.05 after shuttling between 11,556.10 and 11,503.10 during the session. Markets will remain closed Thursday on account of Holi.

Stocks of software exporters were centre of brisk activity after the rupee slipped below the 69 mark against the dollar. Software exporters’ majority of revenues come in dollar.

On a net basis, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth Rs 2,132.36 crore Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold shares worth Rs 1,253.67 crore, provisional data showed.

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Brookfield Asset Management bets big on India

Ali Azar



Brookfield Asset Management – A Canadian firm with $ 350 billion of assets under management and a 120 year heritage, seems to be favouring India, and is on a deal making spree in the country with acquisition of hotels, real estate and a massive gas pipeline.

Just last week, an investment trust led by Brookfield bought Reliance Industries’ East West Pipeline – a 1,400 km pipeline that transports natural gas and connects Kakinada on the eastern Andhra coast to Bharuch in Gujarat on the west coast for an acquisition price of ₹ 13,000 crore.

Previously, Brookfield had invested around $ 7 billion in India, which includes the acquisition of office and retail assets of Hiranandani Developers in Mumbai, purchase of Equinox Business Park from Essar Group, which is a commercial property in Mumbai’s business district of Bandra Kurla Complex and has also invested in roads and renewable energy.

However, its latest acquisition on Monday, of hospitality chain, Hotel Leela Ventures is the one that’s making waves. At a transaction value of ₹ 3,950 crore, Brookfield marked its entry into the Indian hospitality sector and the promoters of the Leela brand, led by C.P. Krishnan Nair, who founded the group in 1986, will transfer assets, properties, management and other contracts of Leela Hotels at Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Udaipur; which collectively contributed 88% of the net worth in F.Y. 2018.

However, Brookfield is not alone in its bullishness on India; almost all sovereign funds from West Asia, Singapore as well as Canadian Pension Funds are recognising India as a key destination and purchasing assets here.


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