New Delhi: Terming GSP  (Generalised System of Preference) withdrawal by the United States unfortunate, India on Saturday vowed to protect the country’s national interest in trade matters. “India as part of our bilateral trade discussions, had offered resolution on significant US requests in an effort to find a mutually acceptable way forward. It is unfortunate that this did not find acceptance by the US. India, like the US and other nations shall always uphold its national interest in these matters. We have significant development imperatives and concerns and our people also aspire for better standards of living. This will remain the guiding factor in the Government’s approach.,” the government said in a statement.

It added,”In any relationship, in particular in the area of economic ties, there are ongoing issues which get resolved mutually from time to time. We view this issue as a part of this regular process and will continue to build on our strong ties with the US, both economic and people-to-people. We are confident that the two Nations will continue to work together intensively for further growing these ties in a mutually beneficial manner.”

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade programme after determining that it has not assured the US that it will provide “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.”

“I have determined that India has not assured the US that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets. Accordingly, it is appropriate to terminate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing country effective June 5, 2019,” Trump had said in a proclamation ignoring the plea made by several top American lawmakers.

What is GSP?

The GSP, which is the oldest and largest US trade preference programme is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for products from designated beneficiary countries.

Under the GSP programme, nearly 2,000 products including auto components and textile materials can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing countries meet the eligibility criteria established by Congress.