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Slowing GDP, US scrapping preferential trade status a 'double whammy': Congress


New Delhi, June 1: The Congress on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the country about how his government would handle 'grave trade and economic crisis'.

The Congress was reacting to the US government's decision to terminate special trade status for India and also on India's economic growth which grew slower than expected to a 20-quarter low in the January-March period, dragging overall growth to a five-year low in FY19.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala

"Already, unemployment is at a five-year high of 6.1 pc (NSSO) and GDP growth has slumped to a five year low at 5.8 pc. At this juncture, withdrawal of the special trade status by the US is a double whammy," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

Surjewala said it is a "double whammy" for India which has "succumbed to US pressure" of not buying crude oil from Iran and has also lost the special trade status and alleged that the government did "nothing to preempt it" despite being informed of the decision in March.

['Unfortunate': India on US decision to preferential trade status]

"On behalf of the people of India, we urge upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a comprehensive statement on the issue to the nation and place before the public a way forward to overcome this grave trade and economic crisis," he told reporters.

"The Prime Minister should take the nation into confidence," he also said.

The US President has terminated India's designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade programme, with the proclamation stating that New delhi has not assured the US that it will provide "equitable and reasonable access to its markets."

The Generalized System of Preference (GSP) is the largest and oldest US trade preference programme and is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.

"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," President Donald Trump said in a proclamation on Friday ignoring a plea by several top American lawmakers.

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