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July 24, 2024
English News

India, US ‘optimistic’ about trade deal talks

India and the United States trade negotiators met on Wednesday, expecting to reach an “understanding” that could lead soon to the finalization and signing of a trade deal.

As commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal met his American counterpart Robert Lighthizer for the second time in recent weeks, officials on both sides tamped down expectations, insisting that while considerable progress has been made and “there is optimism, but certain issues need further discussions”.

“The idea is to try and reach an understanding,” said a person closely tied to the talks, previewing the high-level meeting. “Both sides are optimistic.”

India and the US have been in talks to resolve trade differences for some months now. A deal, when clinched, will address issues agitating ties urgently and also lay the ground for an ambitious Free Trade Agreement, which was indicated by Goyal earlier in the month.

The two countries are looking at a near-term deal and a longer-term version sometime in the future as indicated by Indian and US officials.

The two-track negotiations were first discussed publicly by Trump in remarks to reporters before his bilateral meeting with PM Modi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings in New York in September,. “We’ll have the larger deal down the road (in) a little bit, but we will have a trade deal very soon.”

India wants the removal of US tariff on Indian steel and aluminum and the restoration of special preferential trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences, which were suspended in June. The US has a longer wish list, with access to dairy and medical devices sectors, lower Indian tariff on ICT products.


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