Indo-U.S. trade deal likely during Trump’s India visit

A high-level logistics team from Washington handling Trump’s foreign trips visited India last week

February 05, 2020 09:28 am | Updated 09:32 am IST - New Delhi

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during their visit to Washington last month conveyed to the U.S. side that India was waiting to host Trump. | File

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during their visit to Washington last month conveyed to the U.S. side that India was waiting to host Trump. | File

India and the U.S. are set to seal a trade deal during President Donald Trump’s planned visit to India in the last week of February, multiple sources said.

Trade officials of India and the U.S. are giving final touches to the deal expected to cover specific sectors, they said.

Trump is set to visit India on a two-day trip between February 23 and 26.

The main segment of the visit will take place in the national capital, though an option of having a short visit by Trump to another city is being explored.

The cities being considered include Agra and Ahmedabad.

A high-level logistics team from Washington handling Trump’s foreign trips visited India last week as part of preparations for his maiden tour of India as the U.S. president.

“The trade deal and a pact on further enhancing defence cooperation are likely to be sealed during the visit by the U.S. president,” said a source.

India is seeking exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products as well as resumption of benefits on tariff on certain products under their Generalised System of Preferences.

India is also pressing the U.S. to facilitate greater market access for its products in the U.S. in sectors such as agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.

On the other hand the U.S. wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices in India.

In 2018-19, India’s exports to the U.S. stood at $52.4 billion, while imports were $35.5 billion. Trade deficit dipped from $21.3 billion in 2017-18 to $16.9 billion in 2018-19.

India received FDI worth $3.13 billion from the U.S. in 2018-19, higher than $2 billion in 2017-18.

India had invited Trump to grace the Republic Day parade as the chief guest last year but the U.S. President could not come due to scheduling issues.

During his visit to the U.S. in September last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reminded Trump of his invitation to him to visit India along with his family

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during their visit to Washington last month conveyed to the U.S. side that India was waiting to host Trump.

Trump will seek re-election in presidential polls scheduled to take place in November.

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