Days after icebreaker talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, both the countries will resume trade talks today, with issues such as high tariffs and data localisation high on agenda. The talks will be held amid intense pressure from the US to reduce high import duty on certain American products. Ahead of these official-level trade talks, Trump issued another indirect warning to India on Tuesday. "India has long had a field day putting Tariffs on American products. No longer acceptable!" he tweeted.
However, a United States Trade Representative (USTR) spokesperson said both sides would focus on "relationship building". "Since India's election period has now passed, USTR officials are visiting India for relationship-building with Indian government counterparts, including introductory meetings for the new Assistant USTR for India, Christopher Wilson and Deputy Assistant USTR Brendan Lynch are in New Delhi July 11-12," the spokesperson said.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, during his weekly briefing on Thursday, said, "Now there are quite a few issues on the table which you are aware. Our approach is to engage with them very constructively, in a very positive manner... 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."
India Today, citing sources, said both the countries will discuss "relevant" trade issues, including tariff and data localisation, but there might not be any discussion on Huawei 5G issue. The visiting USTR delegation will also call on Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday. Earlier, talks between the commerce ministry and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) office were suspended following Washington's decision to withdraw the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), thereby ending the duty preference given to over 3,000 items exported from India. After the US withdrawal of special trade privileges, the Modi government imposed higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products, including highly consumed items like almond, pulses and walnut, from June 16. During Union Budget 2019 announcement on July 5, the government also raised customs duty on several other US products, including alloy steel and auto parts.
Edited by Manoj Sharma