India will not “rush into” a trade deal with US

World Sergey Matyunin 20-Feb-2020
India US Trade deal
ID 66170988 © Vkilikov |

India would not like to rush into a trade deal with the United States during President Donald Trump’s upcoming two-day visit to the subcontinent, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during his weekly press briefing in New Delhi on Thursday.

The two sides have been trying to narrow differences over tariffs and US demands for greater access to India’s poultry and dairy markets.

“We do hope to reach an understanding with an outcome that strikes the right balance for both sides. These are complex negotiations. We would not like to rush into a deal,” foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters.

India was hit by Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs in March 2018. India followed suit with retaliatory tariffs in June 2019 which targeted iconic American products such as apples from Washington state.

This followed a March 2019 decision by the US to revoke India’s preferential access to the US market under the World Trade Organization’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

That decision was the result of Indian policy of capping the prices of medical devices, including stents, which adversely affected the US industry. Aslo, Indian authorities did not allow US medical equipment manufacturers to exit the Indian market following the price caps, leading to large losses for these firms.

The trade dispute between the two countries has worsened, with most recently the United States Trade Representative removing India from the list of developing countries who are entitled to benefit from US tariff preferences when it comes to countervailing duties.

The determination was based on the fact that India is a G-20 member and accounts for at least 0.5 per cent of global trade. This makes it highly unlikely the US will reverse India’s ineligibility for the GSP, which is normally given only to developing economies.

Trump arrives in India on Feb. 24.