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Trump rules out signing trade deal during India visit

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2020 Published on February 19, 2020

US President Donald Trump (File photo)   -  REUTERS/JOSHUA ROBERTS

US President says he will save it for later on; New Delhi maintains it has to be a ‘win-win’

A trade deal between India and the US will not be sealed during US President Donald Trump’s visit to India next week, both the countries have confirmed.

While Trump said that he was saving the big trade deal with India for later on and was not sure if it would happen before the US elections, Indian officials on Wednesday said that New Delhi did not want to rush into a deal.

“Well, we can have a trade deal with India, but I’m really saving the big deal for later on. We’re doing a very big trade deal with India. We’ll have it. I don’t know if it’ll be done before the election, but we’ll have a very big deal with India,” Trump said, answering questions from the media before taking off for a four-day trip to the West Coast on Tuesday. The US Presidential election is scheduled in November this year.

India will enter into a new trade deal only after weighing all the pros and cons as it is still suffering the consequences of the free trade pacts signed in 2010-11, a government official said.

“We want to look into the future and work on a win-win situation with no compromises as many decisions have an impact on people’s lives,” he said.

The wish-list

The US has a big wish-list for the proposed trade pact. The list includes no price caps on medical equipment; greater market access for dairy products; zero import duties on mobile phones, motor bikes and high-end IT products; and lower tariffs on farm goods.

India, on the other hand, wants full restoration of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits for its exporters, greater export of agriculture produce and a roll-back of penal duties on its steel and aluminium.

Trump said that though his country had not been treated well by India, he was very excited about his visit.

“We’re not treated very well by India, but I happen to like Prime Minister Modi a lot. And he told me we’ll have 7 million people between the airport and the event. And the stadium, I understand, is sort of semi under construction, but it’s going to be the largest stadium in the world. So it’s going to be very exciting,” Trump said.

Published on February 19, 2020
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