Several members of the US Congress have backed supported India’s demand for restoration of the popular generalised system of preferences (GSP) scheme for exports to the US market. They have written to the US Trade Representative (USTR) expressing their support for the move and have proposed an `early harvest’ approach to sort out immediate problems between the two sides.

“We also have a strong desire to see GSP eligibility for India reinstated. Should there be a progress in negotiations, we hope you will use the tools provided by the GSP statute as warranted, such as partial reinstatement,” a letter signed by 44 Congress members sent to USTR Robert Lighthizer on September 17 stated.

In June this year, the United States had made India ineligible for the GSP scheme that allowed more than 3,000 items from India to be imported duty-free into the country. The withdrawal followed complaints by the US medical equipment and dairy industries, which alleged India did not provide a level playing field for their businesses.

The Congress members proposed an `early harvest’ approach that would ensure that long-sought market access gains for US industries are not held up by negotiations over remaining issues, thereby providing swift relief for both American exporters and importers, according to a report.

“Just as US industries are harmed by lack of fair and reciprocal access to India’s market, American companies and workers also are harmed by new tariffs due to GSP termination. The costs are real for our constituents and growing every day. We urge you to continue negotiations and consider an early harvest to help American jobs that depend on two-way trade between the US and India,” the letter said. The Congress members added that they took the complaints of the US industry seriously and shared the USTR’s strong desire to see them resolved.