NEW YORK: The US is dropping the proposed 25 per cent additional duties on more than 25 Indian exports ranging from shrimps and basmati rice to gold jewellery and furniture following a settlement of the dispute over the Digital Services Tax (DST) imposed by New Delhi on some giant American companies, according to the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office.
The announcement on Wednesday came after the visit of USTR Katherine Tai to India this week, report agencies.
The punitive tariffs on some Indian exports that were imposed in June were temporarily suspended for 180 days and were to have come into force on Tuesday but are now withdrawn, the USTR Office said citing the Treasury Department announcement.
The additional import duties were to have been in retaliation for India imposing a two per cent DST starting in April last year on earnings in the country by foreign technology and e-commerce companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google.
The settlement was based on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation agreement on international taxation which has at its core a global minimum corporate tax of 15 per cent and makes way for countries to tax multinational enterprises (MNEs), especially tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon, on their earnings there.
This would mutually benefit the US and other countries because while recognising the right of all countries to tax the multinationals, it also sets the minimum tax of 15 per cent to disincentivise companies from locating in countries with little or no taxes on them to evade paying taxes in what are really their home countries.
Former Republican President Donald Trump’s administration in its last days in January declared the DST discriminatory making it liable for counteraction and his Democratic Party successor Joe Biden’s officials continued the opposition culminating in the imposing of the punitive tariffs.
The US also threatened similar retaliatory tariffs against Austria, Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Turkey for the DST they imposed on US companies.
Those countries have since reached agreements with the US for dropping the DST and Washington in turn cancelling the additional tariffs on their exports. The USTR said that the DST on e-commerce services of US companies that accrue in India starting on April 1 next year will be creditable to future taxes under the OECD agreement starting on March 31, 2024, or when the agreement is implemented, whichever is earlier.