U.S. open to dialogue on GSP, says Pompeo

Mike Pompeo   | Photo Credit: AFP

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo hinted that it was possible to reinstate the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a programme for preferential access to certain goods markets in the U.S., for India. Mr. Pompeo is expected to discuss this as well as 5G network technology and data localisation while in New Delhi later this month on a visit.

“We’ll probably discuss the recent decision about the GSP program…we remain open to dialogue, and hope that our friends in India will drop their trade barriers and trust the competitiveness of their own companies, their own businesses, their own people and private sector companies,” Mr. Pompeo said as he previewed his trip to New Delhi during a speech at the U.S.-India Business Council’s India Ideas Summit in Washington D.C.

In addition to GSP, data localisation regulations and proposed policies have been a source of friction between the two countries.

“We’ll also push for free flow of data across borders, not just to help American companies, but to protect data and secure consumers’ privacy,” Mr. Pompeo said.


“And speaking of privacy, we are eager to help India establish secure communications networks — including 5G networks as well,” Mr. Pompeo said.

The Trump administration is pushing its allies and partner countries to block the Chinese telecom giant Huawei from participating in building their next generation (5G) telecommunication networks and has put Huawei on a trade blacklist for U.S. companies.

In a speech that went to some lengths to stress that the U.S. understood India’s post-Independence economic history and current geopolitical realities, Mr Pompeo touched on a common theme — a India-U.S. partnership based on values.

“We get it. We realize it’s different to deal with the likes of China and Pakistan from across the ocean than it is when they are on your borders. That’s why in this room and not so many months ago, I elaborated on President Trump’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Mr. Pompeo said.

“It starts from the premise that we share a common set of values…it’s only natural that the world's most populous democracy should partner with the world’s oldest democracy.” The speech was also packed with praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with references to the his background and rise to power, his recent election victory and a campaign slogan: “Modi hai to mumkin hai (If Modi is there, it is possible).”


Mr. Pompeo also used the dais to make a pitch for U.S. crude oil and natural gas during a question answer session with LNG company Tellurian’s CEO, Meg Gentle.

“We’ve been blessed with abundant affordable energy right here in the United States, and we’re now out producing it at enormous levels, not just crude oil but natural gas as well,” Mr. Pompeo said, adding that the U.S. would need to ensure that it had the infrastructure for delivery.

Under threat of U.S. sanctions, India had, reluctantly, stopped oil imports from Venezuela and Iran, India’s ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Vardhan Shringla told the press at the end of May. On Monday, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan spoke with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry about volatile oil prices and energy security.

“They [buyers of U.S. fuel] can have a fully diversified energy portfolio where they don’t have to rely on nations that aren’t as reliable as the United States,” Mr. Pompeo said.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 6:50:56 AM |

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