Featured Image: Biden and Modi during G20 in New Delhi. Source: The Insight Post
This September, a new G20 summit was held in New Delhi, India. During this summit, Modi and Biden, Prime Minister of India and President of the United States respectively, reached trade agreements that included the dispute over trade tariffs. Until this agreement, India maintained tariffs on primary products such as apples, lentils, chickpeas, among others, of north-American origin. These taxes provided a certain benefit to Indian agrarian production, since these products have a much lower cost of production in the United States, and without them Indian peasants could not compete on price.
These tariffs from India to the US began in 2017, after the United States eliminated India from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) that allowed thousands of products to be exported to the American country without taxes. In retaliation, India decided to add import tariffs mainly on primary food products. Before the summit, in July of this year, India had already lowered taxes on products such as apples and nuts, which has led to an increase in US imports that harm Indian producers. However now, after the G20 summit, India is going to further reduce these taxes on American products without receiving any economic benefit in return. All this, ignoring the Samyukta Kisan Morcha [United Front of Farmers] that formally asked the Prime Minister and the Minister of Commerce to raise the tariffs.
Among some products that would suffer this tax reduction are products where the US is the largest exporter worldwide or one of the largest (such as walnuts, almonds, apples, lentils and chickpeas). Also in fresh products such as poultry meats (turkey, duck, chicken, etc.), it is very urgent for the North American country to increase its exports. In general, all of these food products have the characteristic that they are widely consumed products in the Asian country, and therefore their export is very profitable for the United States. However, for this same reason, they are a necessary base for Indian producers, since some of them represent an important economic source for entire regions such as apples, walnuts and almonds in the States of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. In these States, tourism is being imposed as the main business in the economy, leaving thousands of poor peasants ruined.
Faced with this new policy, silence has prevailed on Modi. He knows that it will not be a well-received policy and that there will be severe criticism of him and his “nationalist” party. This is just a new example of how the States of semi-feudal and semi-colonial countries govern their policies under the interests of the imperialist States and their bourgeoisies, in this case the Yankee one as the only world hegemonic superpower and the one with the greatest influence over India. These interests do not benefit the Indian people, since they represent a worsening of the living conditions of thousands of poor peasants who continue to see how the interests of foreign companies come before the interest of the entire people.