India, US officials to meet Friday to discuss trade issues


India-US trade tiff | Talks in Delhi days after Trump's combative tweet

The MEA spokesperson declined to comment specifically on which issues were being discussed on Thursday and Friday, including whether the US objections to Chinese telecommunications company Huawei being considered for 5G trials was among them, but said that the "entire gamut of issues related to trade will be on the table". "Our approach is to engage with them very constructively, in a very positive manner", ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday while the two sides met for informal talks to break the logjam.

Less than two weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump met on the sidelines of the G20 in Osaka, a team of U.S. government officials are in New Delhi for two days of brainstorming with Indian officials in order to resolve the trade dispute between India and the United States.

A delegation led by Assistant US Trade Representative for South and Central Asia, Christopher Wilson, will meet Indian officials to try to re-start negotiations on the tariffs, which were response to the US removing some trade privileges from Indian products. This week, Trump tweeted that "high" duties were "not acceptable". We have a matching delegation from our is being led by Additional Secretary-level officer from commerce ministry. "We have to keep in mind the bigger picture and within that big picture address all issues on the table", the MEA spokesperson said.

"The meeting was cordial and aimed at providing a new impetus to bilateral trade and commercial ties, in line with the mandate given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump during their meeting at Osaka, Japan on June 28, 2019".

Trade talks between the U.S. 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.

In a recent meeting, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told trade ministry officials that "Trump is clearly preparing for a larger game, a larger opening", according to one of the officials aware of the discussions. Both the sides will hold comprehensive dialogue on July 12 in the commerce and industry ministry, the official added.

The US is India's largest trade partner and imports a large variety of items from the country whichinclude several labour-intensive products.

India then imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 United States products with effect from June 16, after delaying them for a year, to punish the United States for not acceding to its request for the withdrawal of penal duties on its steel and aluminium levied last year. There are certain irritants which both countries want to sort out to push the bilateral trade.

Goods that the United States would seek greater market access include medical devices, dairy products, information and communication technology and Harley Davidson motorcycles. The rules have forced the two American companies to rework their business strategies for India. Stating that the USA has taken a "unilateral position" in rolling back export incentives from India, the government has asserted that it would not allow trade negotiations to overtake issues of national interest.

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