Millennium Post

India, US looking at an exclusive trade partnership: Shringla

Washington: India and the US are looking for an exclusive partnership that can give companies of both the nations preferential market access, India's outgoing Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said. Shringla made the comments during his farewell reception on Tuesday organised by US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum or USISPF that was attended by members of the corporate world and representatives from the US Government.

What we are really looking for is to provide the basis for an exclusive partnership in trade between our two countries that can give US companies preferential market access to India and Indian companies the preferential market access to the United States, Shringla said.

The outgoing Ambassador, who would take up his new assignment as India's next foreign secretary later this month, said the two countries have been successful in bridging gaps through several rounds of trade talks.

We have had several rounds of talks between our Minister of Commerce and Industry and the US Trade Representatives. We have had several rounds of talks between the senior officials and both sides. We have been successful in bridging many of the gaps, he said.

Shringla was referring to the recent series of talks between the two countries on a trade package, which is expected to pave the way for a larger bilateral trade deal.

The trade deal was first announced by US President Donald Trump when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Trump on September 24 said his country will soon have a trade deal with India to boost economic ties between the two nations.

Shringla said this is a continuous process of engagement.

It's not a one-off thing, he said, adding that the bilateral trade deal that would give preferential treatment to the companies of one country into the other would result in exponential growth of trade between India and the US.

If we were to seek concessions on an MFN (most favoured nation) basis, then it would like to all countries, that would mean that many of gains that you expect may not necessarily come your way, he said.

But given the fact that we have a strategic partner, given the fact that the two countries share common ideologies, values and principles; it's natural that we should seek a mutuality in terms of trade and trading arrangements that would be in the best interest of all of us here, Shringla said. pti

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