New Delhi (Sputnik): The US and India currently enjoy bilateral trade to the tune of more than $140 billion. But their recent disputes over trade, immigration, and technology have led to a strained relationship.
In a major setback for the US, which was seeking major announcements including on a limited trade deal with India, a top government official in New Delhi has revealed that the two countries have mutually agreed not to rush into a deal on the eve of the visit.
The Official made it clear that “every visit need not have big-ticket announcements”.
US President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit India on 24-25 February.
“Don’t want to rush into a trade deal on the eve of the visit… We seek to achieve a win-win relationship. Both Indian commerce minister and US Trade Representative have mutually agreed that we will not rush into a trade deal,” a top government sources said on Wednesday.
However, the Indian side has maintained that it is not correct to say that the deal is stuck due to major differences. The trade deal is “an ongoing process” and both trade ministers have “agreed to talk and are looking at a larger free trade agreement”, sources added.
The top government official reiterated that India will seek the restoration of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) by the US.
Under the GSP, the import subsidy facility, the US had been providing duty-free access to around 2,000 Indian products until June 2019. Trump had announced the revocation of the GSP for India alleging that New Delhi is imposing higher tariffs on American goods.
The suspension of the GSP affected $5.6 billion worth of Indian exports. Asked about tariff hikes by India, an official pointed out that “Korea and Japan have higher tariffs”, while “India is a developing country”.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, Trump expressed dissatisfaction over US-India trade ties, saying “We’re not treated very well by India”, but, expressed his admiration for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trump, however, maintained that “a big deal” with India is expected later.