Regardless of what the US says, India’s tariffs are not sky high. There are many countries which have much higher tariff as compared to India. Several developed countries and regions including Japan, South Korea and the European Union maintain extremely high tariffs. In fact, US import duties are also quite high. On tobacco it is about 350 per cent and 164 per cent on peanuts.
Japan levies 736 per cent duty on certain products while Korea imposes 807 per cent duty on some goods. Product-specific high tariffs, like 150 per cent on alcoholic beverages, 100 per cent on coffee, and 60 per cent to 75 per cent on automobiles, have made India a villain in the eyes of the US. If India takes measures to protect the interests of specific sectors like agriculture, many countries in the world are not far behind. Japan, South Korea, the EU and the US maintain an extremely high tariff primarily on agriculture products.
India's average WTO bound tariff is 48.5 per cent while the average applied tariff is 13.4 per cent. There is clearly a wide gap between the two. If India applied tariffs indiscriminately, applied tariff would have been very close to the bound rates.