India, US resume trade talks as tariffs war heats up

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump

US President Trump has repeatedly raised the issue of India putting high import duties on American products.

The commerce ministry stated that assistant United States trade representative (USTR) Christopher Wilson was on a visit on 11-12 July to "explore potential for enhanced bilateral trade and economic engagement with India under the new government".

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said during a briefing that India was looking to resolve trade issues, many of which were discussed in Osaka.

Ahead of the talks on Friday, speaking at the Second Leadership Summit of US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) in Washington, deputy USTR Jeffrey D Gerrish said that president Trump and USTR Robert Lighthizer are frustrated with lack of balance and reciprocity in the India-US trade relationship.

The delegation led by assistant United States trade representative Christopher Wilson is in India to explore potential for enhanced bilateral trade and economic engagement under the new government. We have a matching delegation from our is being led by Additional Secretary-level officer from commerce ministry. "No longer acceptable!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "We have to keep in mind the bigger picture and within that big picture address all issues on the table", the MEA spokesperson said.

The statement added that the meeting was "aimed at providing a new impetus to bilateral trade and commercial ties, in line with the mandate" given by PM Modi and US President Trump during the bilateral at Osaka. An official said that relevant issues for both the countries on trade and commerce will be discussed during the meeting.

Walmart told the US government privately in January that India's new investment rules for e-commerce were regressive and had the potential to hurt trade ties, Reuters reported on Thursday. The USTR has earlier pointed out in a reported that the data localisation requirements in India would serve as significant barriers to digital trade between the two countries and should be removed.

"No breakthrough", said one of the senior Indian officials involved in the talks in New Delhi, which lasted a little over three hours. From June 16, India imposed high customs duties on 28 USA products in retaliation to customs duties imposed by America on certain steel and aluminium products. The US wants greater market access for its dairy products and cut in customs duties in information and communications technology products.

The US is India's largest trade partner and imports a large variety of items from the country whichinclude several labour-intensive products.

On its part, India had imposed retaliatory tariffs on 25 American goods, less than two weeks after the Trump administration announced an end to the preferential trade treatment for India.

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