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Six reasons why India-US 2+2 Dialogue could mention trade

Joe C Mathew     September 3, 2018

As External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman meet their United States counterparts Michael R. Pompeo (Secretary of State) and James Mattis (Secretary of Defence) for the inaugural US-India 2+2 Dialogue on September 6 in New Delhi, here is a snapshot of the sore points US has when it comes to its trade relationship with India.


The Trump administration believes that there are a lot of U.S. food and agricultural exports that are facing unfair trade barriers. It wants Indian market to be reopened to U.S. poultry and be opened for pork. It had in the past challenged India's ban on products such as poultry meat, eggs, and live pigs in the name of protection against avian influenza. A World Trade Organisation (WTO) complaint followed, where U.S. stated that India's ban was not based on international standards or a risk assessment and India discriminated against U.S. products in favour of Indian products.

WTO norms

US says India should no longer be considered as a "developing country" and be eligible for "special and differential" treatment. It argues that in practice, this means that more advanced countries like Brazil, China, India, and South Africa receive the same flexibilities as very low-income countries, despite the very significant role these more advanced countries have in the global economy.


US seeks prohibitions on subsidy to fishing sector saying that it contributes to overfishing and overcapacity and those that support illegal fishing activities. It considers India as a large subsidiser and wants India to be part of an ambitious agreement on fisheries subsidies that includes enhanced transparency and notifications of fisheries subsidies programs.

Bilateral market access barriers

US seeks better market access for goods like medical devices and high-technology products.

Digital trade

US is not happy with India's data localisation requirements, and wants India to enact a new data protection law to ensure that the law does not have negative impacts on the digital trade. India's decision to impose import tariffs on certain telecommunication products covered under the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) has also been opposed.

Export subsidies

Since India's per capita GNP is above the $1,000 threshold for three consecutive years now, US wants India to terminate all export subsidies in all sectors.

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