India to discuss $10-billion trade deal with the US ahead of Trump’s India visit

Hemani Sheth | Updated on January 29, 2020 Published on January 29, 2020

India and the US are likely to discuss and finalise a mega trade deal amounting to $10 billion in February during United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer’s visit to New Delhi, according to media reports on Wedesday.

The deal will be signed by both countries during President Trump’s India visit with its legal vetting still pending, the report said.

The restrictions on import of medical devices had been a major hindrance in the finalisation of a mega trade deal between the two nations, the report added.

The deal has been in the works now for a while with meetings being held between the representatives of the two nations at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos. A six-member team from the US had visited Delhi over the weekend for a meeting with Industry and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal,said the report.

The trade deal is reaching a point of decision after ongoing debates regarding India’s high tariff rates. In May 2019, the Trump administration had stripped India of its special trade status that had previously facilitated zero tariffs on $5.6 billion of exports to the United States.

The two nations had then agreed upon a mini-trade deal during Goyal’s US visit in 2019. The deal envisaged India removing restrictions on imported goods such as electronics, medical devices and farm goods, according a news report.

Robert Lighthizer will also likely to meet Goyal ahead of Trump’s visit to finalise the terms of the deal amid these ongoing concerns, ET reported. According to a report by OneIndia, Trump would stay at the ITC Maurya during his India visit. The hotel has been booked for February 21 to 24. During Trump’s India visit, the Modi administration is likely to organise an event in Ahmedabad similar to the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in the US, the news report added.

According to a recent Reuters report, the US also wishes to sell another $5-6 billion worth of farm goods to India to restore India’s GSP privileges. The deal asked for India to cut back on tariff rates on US farm goods such as almonds, walnuts, and apples, the report said. The demand had been conveyed to India by the US last December.

The deal will be a win-win for both administrations. If finalised, it will help the US counter China’s economic growth, and India face up to the growing economic slowdown in the country.

According to the US Census Bureau, India’s exports to the US till November 2019 amounted to $53.386 billion, while India’s imports from the US stood at $31.35 billion.

Published on January 29, 2020
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