Broad Issues Of  India-U.S. Trade Deal Almost Resolved, Says Piyush Goyal
Goyal at the U.S. India Strategic Partnership Forum’s Annual India Leadership Summit. (Source: Verified Twitter page of Piyush Goyal)

Broad Issues Of India-U.S. Trade Deal Almost Resolved, Says Piyush Goyal

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India and the U.S. have almost resolved broad issues of the proposed trade package and an announcement is expected soon, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday.

He said that the two countries should look at a much larger engagement in the days ahead, possibly even leading to an announcement for a bilateral agreement that will go beyond near tinkering which "we are doing at present".

The minister said that trade negotiations are complex in nature but things are going smoothly between the two countries. "We have almost resolved the broad contours of what we are going to announce. I do not see any great difficulty in closing the gap on the first announcement," he said here at a U.S. India Strategic Partnership Forum’s Annual India Leadership Summit programme.

He said that probably by now, both sides could have announced something, but certain other engagements including the U.S. talks with Japan and China delayed the announcement.

"Both I and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have understood that we have huge potential which we still need to tap...We will hopefully come out with the first set of agreements soon,” he said.

"But we both believe that India and the U.S. should look at a much larger engagement in the days ahead, possibly even leading to an announcement for a bilateral agreement which will go beyond near tinkering which we are doing at present," Goyal said, adding that as soon as both the sides are in a position to come to a reasonable conclusion, the U.S. trade representative will visit India.

The minister said things are on the right track and India is looking to the U.S. for technology, innovation, skills, and quality education. India, on the other hand, offers an attractive market to U.S. businesses and skilled labour that can add value to American companies, he added.

Further, he said that the ministry is working to create a single window for investments in India. The two countries are negotiating a trade package to iron out issues and promote two-way commerce. The U.S. has been pressuring India to lower duties on its products and address the trade gap.

India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the U.S. on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their Generalised System of Preferences, greater market access for its products from sectors, including agriculture, automobile, auto components, and engineering.

On the other hand, the U.S. wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices, and cut on import duties on some ICT products. The U.S. has also raised concerns over a high trade deficit with India.

In 2018-19, India's exports to the U.S. stood at $52.4 billion, while imports were $35.5 billion. Trade deficit dipped from $21.3 billion in 2017-18 to $16.9 billion in 2018-19. India received FDI worth $3.13 billion from the U.S. in 2018-19, higher than $2 billion in 2017-18.

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