India Made An Offer To U.S. To Resolve Trade Issues, Says Suresh Prabhu
The commerce ministry, after consulting various departments like information technology and agriculture, has made an offer to the U.S. to resolve trade issues between the two countries, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Wednesday.
The U.S. is demanding greater market access for its agricultural, dairy products and medical devices. Besides, they are seeking reduction in import duties on certain IT products and increasing their exports to bridge trade deficit with India. Prabhu said that whatever the U.S. is asking from India concerns various ministries, including IT and agriculture.
"We have consulted all the ministries and we have given them an offer," the commerce and industry minister told PTI, when asked about the steps being taken to resolve trade issues with America. However, he did not disclose the details of the offer.
Although officials of India and the U.S. have been negotiating a trade package, America last month announced to withdraw benefits being provided by them to Indian exports under their Generalised System of Preferences programme.
The U.S. has decided to go ahead with its decision after 60 days, which is expected to impact India's exports to the U.S. worth $5.6 billion under this programme. Prabhu said that in the last one year, the U.S. exports to India have increased by about 48 percent, not including the defence purchases made.
He also said that India would like to buy about 1,000 aircrafts from the world and the U.S. could be one of the potential suppliers. Defence purchases and this kind of procurement is going to change the things dramatically with regard to trade balance, he added.
India's exports to the U.S. in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion, while imports were $26.7 billion. The U.S. is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus.
When asked about the government's plan to send an official delegation to the U.S. for holding consultations, the minister said, "we have not yet decided". Trade experts have stated that trade dialogue will help in resolving the issues as the U.S. is one of the largest trading partners of India.
Replying to a question about the reason behind extending the deadline again and again on imposing retaliatory tariffs on 29 U.S. products, Prabhu said the U.S. has not yet stopped the GSP benefits to Indian exporters.
The government has extended the deadline to impose retaliatory customs duties on products, including almond, walnut and pulses, till May 2.
As part of the proposed trade package, India is pressing for exemption from the high duty imposed by the U.S. on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their GSP, greater market access for its products from agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering sectors.