US-India trade deal can happen quickly: Wilbur Ross

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 03, 2019

Wilbur Ross, US Commerce Secretary (file photo)   -  Bloomberg

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has said that with the Narendra Modi government back in power, a US-India bilateral trade deal can happen very quickly as the two countries know each other’s issues well.

“Pre-elections there were undoubtedly some constraints on India to deal with some matters. Now that the elections have come and gone, and PM Modi has a clear and strong position in Parliament, it should be a lot easier to take clear decisive action,” Ross said at the India Economic Forum organised by the World Economic Forum in partnership with CII on Thursday.

On the failure of US President Donald Trump and PM Modi to reach an agreement on trade during the Indian PM’s recent visit to the US, Ross said that neither government said there would be a trade deal in five minutes, and the talks of a trade deal being signed then were mere speculation.

Points of conflict

The US has been seeking certain trade concessions from India to bridge the existing trade deficit between the countries. It wants India to take a number of facilitating steps such as remove price caps on medical devices, reduce tariffs on mobiles, motorbikes and some agriculture products, and allow dairy exports.

India, on the other hand, wants the US to restore the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme for Indian exporters, which was withdrawn earlier this year. India also wants the US toroll-back penal import duties imposed on its aluminium and steel, which were imposed last year on security grounds.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that relationship between the US and India were better than ever before. “The leaders get along very well personally, and also understand each other. They understand what is good for the people of the country and the world as a whole,” he said.

The US was India’s largest export destination accounting for 16 per cent of India’s exports in 2018-19. It was followed by United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and Hong Kong.

Published on October 03, 2019

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