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India certainly not ‘tariff king’: World Bank on Trump’s remarks

The World Bank does not agree with US President Donald Trump’s claim that India is a “tariff king” and feels that the Indian taxation system and the economy are much more liberalised than it was a few decades ago, a top official of the international financial institution said on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Trump described India as a “tariff king” as he reiterated his allegations that New Delhi has a high tariff rate on various American goods. “That (India being a tariff king) certainly is not what we find in our data,” Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank’s Senior Director for Development Economics and Acting Chief Economist, told PTI in an interview when asked about Trump’s statement.

“India has some tariffs, but by no means, it’s not (tariff) king,” said Devarajan, who earlier was chief economist for South Asia at the World Bank.

Even in South Asia India did not have the highest tariffs, he said referring to the experience he had in his previous capacity in the World Bank. “And they (tariffs in India) have come down quite a bit since then,” he said.

Liberalisation of the Indian economy is showing results, he said.

“Tariffs were very high in 1991 when they liberalised and they found that actually, the economy boomed. That has helped to build political support for further reforms,” Devarajan said.

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