India, US engaged in hectic parleys on trade deal
New Delhi: Officials of India and the US are engaged in hectic parleys for a proposed trade deal between the countries ahead of the visit of US President Donald Trump here later this month, an official said. However, the official said that as of now there is no clarity if the trade pact will be signed during President Trump's visit on February 24-25.
Multiple rounds of talks have taken place between Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in the past few weeks over telephone.
The two countries are negotiating a trade package to iron out certain issues and promote two-way commerce.
India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), and greater market access for its products from sectors like agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.
On the other hand, the US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices, data localisation, and cut on import duties on some information and communication technology (ICT) products. The US has also raised concerns over high trade deficit with India. In 2018-19, India's exports to the US 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 US in 2018-19, higher than $2 billion in 2017-18.