India, US trade talks end in Delhi without major progress

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump

Ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "Our approach is to engage constructively and positively".

US and Indian trade negotiators ended talks on Friday without making major progress on a range of disputes over tariffs and other protectionist measures imposed by both sides that are straining bilateral ties, according to officials with knowledge of the discussions.

US President Donald Trump has been putting pressure on India to do more to open its markets, saying this week again on Twitter its high tariffs were "unacceptable". "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 AUSTR for India, Christopher Wilson", a USTR spokesperson said. The US officials will also meet Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday. "But Trump's tweet has shown their intention is to continue with a tough stance", another official said. We have a matching delegation from our side.it is being led by Additional Secretary-level officer from commerce ministry.

"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 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. 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 the USA was worth $142.1 billion in 2018, with India having a surplus of $24.2 billion.

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On Friday, both sides sat for formal discussions to find ways on the contentious issues but neither side said much in their press statements despite three hours of negotiations.

"The initial talks between visiting officials from the United States and their Indian counterparts to break the ice between the two sides started on Thursday".

Goods that the United States would seek greater market access include medical devices, dairy products, information and communication technology and Harley Davidson motorcycles.

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. India imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 U.S. products to the tune of $200 million after postponing them nine times.

The GSP, implemented since 1974, is the largest and oldest U.S. trade-preference scheme and it allows duty-free imports for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.

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