US Trade Talks End Without Major Progress

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 13, 2019

Numerous toughest questions on agricultural commodities, e-commerce, and steel and aluminum, have been put off until Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal goes to Washington for talks with United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer next month.

This came two days after President Trump Donald hit out at India saying its tariff is no longer acceptable to the United States, high-level trade delegation of India and U.S. began talks in New Delhi.

"Since India's election period has now passed, USTR officials are visiting India for relationship building with Indian government counterparts, including introductory meetings", said a spokesperson for the United States Trade Representative (USTR). "Many of these issues were discussed by PM and President Trump and we look forward to resolving them. many are technical in nature like tariffs, we will have to wait and see how they will be addressed, and what is the outcome of the talks", he added.

Senior officials from India and the USA will discuss on Friday various trade and economic issues to strengthen bilateral relations, a top official said. "No longer acceptable!" Trump tweeted then. "Our approach is to engage with them constructively in a positive manner". We have a matching delegation from our is being led by Additional Secretary-level officer from commerce ministry.

The meeting was scheduled after Trump and Prime Minister met in Osaka last month on the sidelines of the G-20 conference and made a decision to instruct their trade teams to re-start talks.

The United States would seek a rollback of some of those tariffs, and India would in return seek better access to the U.S. market for Indian farm products, said the Indian official who is aware of the agenda for discussions.

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.

The two sides were negotiating to reduce friction on e-commerce, data localisation and trade tariff during the high-level dialogue on trade that began with informal talks in New Delhi on Thursday.

Indo-US bilateral trade reached $142 billion in 2018 with a $24.7 billion trade surplus in favour of India. The US wants greater market access for its dairy products and cut in customs duties in information and communications technology products. The rules have forced the two American companies to rework their business strategies for India. India imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 U.S. products to the tune of $200 million after postponing them nine times. Stating that the U.S. 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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