US trade talks end without major progress

13 Juillet, 2019, 04:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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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.

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 USA 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. External Affairs Ministry (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said an Indian delegation under a senior commerce ministry official will meet the U.S. officials on Friday. Mr. Trump has tweeted twice in the recent past, before and after his meeting with Mr. Modi, and on both occasions criticised India on high tariffs. While India had on Thursday said they were approaching the talks with a mindset of "problem solving", it seems that the protectionist approach by both sides prevented any results.

The MEA spokesperson declined to comment specifically on which issues were being discussed on Thursday and Friday, including whether the USA 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". We have a matching delegation from our is being led by Additional Secretary-level officer from commerce ministry.

The two sides resumed talks after U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in June and agreed to seek to deepen the two countries' relationship.

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"I think it is important to keep in mind when we engage on this issue that the trajectory of the relationship remains positive, we have to keep in mind the bigger picture and within that big picture try to address all the issues which are on the table", he had added.

The two sides will discuss the issue of tariffs, which have been raised on both sides in the past year, as well as regulatory changes by India on data localisation, e-commerce and import curbs, that the US has protested. An official said that relevant issues for both the countries on trade and commerce will be discussed during the meeting.

Trade between and India and USA was worth $142.1bn in 2018, with India having a surplus of $24.2bn.

While tariffs on a number of products such as smartphones, other IT and telecom items and Harley Davidson motorbikes are one of the focus issues for the United States for the talks, the other two are e-commerce rules and data localisation. The US wants greater market access for its dairy products and cut in customs duties in information and communications technology products. From June 16, India imposed high customs duties on 28 United States products in retaliation to customs duties imposed by America on certain steel and aluminium products. The US would urge India to ease restrictions on ecommerce and data localisation norms which impact American companies like MasterCard and Walmart.



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