A worker watches as a gantry crane carries a shipping container at the Krishnapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Ongoing India, U.S. Talks To Resolve Trade Issues, Says Suresh Prabhu

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has said India and the U.S. have exchanged offers for a possible trade deal to resolve issues related to bilateral commerce.

“The negotiations are ongoing,” he said. “Of course, at this stage they have given an offer and we have also given a counter-offer and we are working on it.”

The statement assumes significance as India has deferred a notification for hiking import duties on as many as 29 U.S. products.

India had announced hiking customs duty on 29 products, including pulses and iron and steel items, imported from the U.S. as a retaliatory action against the tariff hike by Washington. The duty hike would come into effect from Nov. 02.

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 goods under their Generalised System of Preferences as well as greater market access for its products from sectors, including agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.

As many as 3,500 Indian products from sectors such as chemicals and engineering get duty-free access to the U.S. market under the system, introduced in 1976. On the other hand, the U.S. is demanding greater market access for its agriculture goods, manufacturing products and medical devices.

India’s exports to the U.S. in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion, while imports were $26.7 billion.