The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : U.S.-India Trade Needs Higher Ambition

 GS-2 Mains Exam : International Relationship

Revision Notes

Question : Examine the significance of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in fostering trade relations between developed and developing countries, with a focus on its role in facilitating economic reform and market access. How does the renewal of GSP contribute to the enhancement of US-India strategic relationship?

Basic Concept :

  • The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a program by developed nations to give developing countries a helping hand in international trade. Imagine you own a small shirt factory in India. Normally, when you export shirts to the US, you pay a tax (called a tariff) on them. But, under the GSP, the US might reduce or eliminate that tariff for your shirts, making them cheaper for American consumers and giving your business a boost.
  • The GSP isn’t a handout though. There are rules about what products qualify and which countries benefit. Not all developing countries are included, and there might be limits on how much of a certain good a country can export with GSP benefits. The GSP is just one way international trade can be used to promote development.


  • Boosts Developing Economies: GSP lowers import costs for developing countries, making their exports cheaper and more competitive in developed markets. This can lead to increased production, jobs, and economic growth.
  • Promotes Diversification: GSP encourages developing countries to diversify their exports beyond raw materials by offering benefits on a wider range of products.


  • Distortion of Markets: Lower tariffs for some countries can hurt domestic industries in developed nations facing competition from cheaper imports.
  • Graduation Challenges: Highly successful developing countries may “graduate” out of the program, potentially hindering their continued growth.
  • Compliance Requirements: Maintaining eligibility for GSP can involve meeting labor and environmental standards, which can be a burden for some countries.


Back to the Editorial Analysis

  • Context: Stronger trade ties needed to boost US-India strategic relationship.
  • GSP (Generalized System of Preferences):
    • Offered by developed countries for economic reform in developing countries through lower tariffs.
    • Oldest “aid for trade” approach in WTO.
  • GSP Renewal Importance:
    • Bipartisan support exists for restarting talks with India.
    • Creates stable market access for developing countries (esp. small businesses).
    • Offers alternative to Chinese imports and reduces tariff burden for US companies.
    • Aligns with friendshoring/nearshoring goals.
  • Goal: Increase bilateral trade beyond $200 billion (current level).
  • Challenge: US not negotiating FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) currently.
  • Opportunity: GSP renewal can be a stepping stone for broader trade talks (potentially reaching a $10 billion deal).

US-India Trade Relationship: 

  • GSP renewal seen as a springboard for broader trade talks.
  • Goal: Increase bilateral trade beyond $200 billion.
  • Talks before GSP expiration almost reached a wide-ranging deal (up to $10 billion).
  • US not currently negotiating FTAs, but India is with other partners.
  • Existing dialogues lack leverage for ambitious trade deals.
  • Private sectors see opportunities but need regulatory certainty.


  • Stronger trade ties needed alongside growing strategic partnership.
  • GSP renewal a positive step, but a more comprehensive approach is ideal.


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