US may push for auto tariff reduction

The iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycles joined a list of American vehicle firms –  including General Motors, Ford Motor Co and Cleveland CycleWerks – that have been driven out of India in the last three years due to low demand for their segment of vehicles. Experts believe that consequently, Washington might give a stronger push to auto tariff reduction in its asks while finalising a limited trade package.

“The Harley-Davidson exit happening at this juncture is a signal which is not really desirable for India at this point. The exit of other auto companies in the last few years also shows that the market here is not deep enough for them to grab share from other companies like Suzuki and Hyundai, which are firmly entrenched,” noted trade expert Biswajit Dhar, professor at JNU’s Centre for Economic Studies and Planning.

However, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations president Rajat Kathuria opines that it is unlikely that India will give in. “Auto tariffs may go higher on the list (of priorities for a limited trade deal), but for India, auto is not important and there’s nothing for us to gain. They (the US) might try to push it,” he added.

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