No breakthrough in India-U.S trade talks

13 July, 2019, 13:11 | Author: Wade Massey
  • India-US trade talks,India,India-US trade

US President Donald Trump has been asking India to reduce customs duties on US products further.

The commerce ministry stated that assistant U.S. trade representative (USTR) Christopher Wilson was on a visit on 11-12 July to "explore potential for enhanced bilateral trade and economic engagement with India under the new government".

Foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday that all decisions in the talks would aim to keep relations "positive".

Trade talks between the USA and India, which resumed on Thursday after a brief lull, will focus on tariffs, data localisation and e-commerce rules as officials from both sides try to iron out differences in the areas over the two-day meeting, a government official has said.

"Since India's election period has now passed, USTR officials are visiting India for relationship-building with Indian government counterparts", a USTR spokesperson said. The US officials will also meet Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday. "No longer acceptable!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "Our approach is to engage with them constructively in a positive manner".

Additional secretary in the commerce ministry Sanjay Chadha led the talks for India.

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"We have to keep in mind the bigger picture and within that bigger picture try to address all the issues which are on the table", Kumar told a briefing.

Walmart told the United States government privately in January that India's new investment rules for e-commerce were regressive and had the potential to hurt trade ties, Reuters reported on Thursday. An official said that relevant issues for both the countries on trade and commerce will be discussed during the meeting. The MEA spokesperson said that India and the United States during the meeting in Osaka had decided that officials from both sides would meet and resolve all outstanding trade issues. Both the sides will hold comprehensive dialogue on July 12 in the commerce and industry ministry, the official added.

Top sources told CNBC-TV18 that tariffs, ecommerce and data localisation issues are the main issues that would be discussed.

Goods that the U.S. would seek greater market access include medical devices, dairy products, information and communication technology and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

While tariffs on a number of products such as smartphones, other IT and telecom items and Harley Davidson motorbikes are one of the focus issues for the USA for the talks, the other two are e-commerce rules and data localisation. The US would urge India to ease restrictions on ecommerce and data localisation norms which impact American companies like MasterCard and Walmart.

The GSP, implemented since 1974, is the largest and oldest USA trade-preference scheme and it allows duty-free imports for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.

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