India, US to soon hold talks on trade issues

Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu has said India’s purchases of commercial aircraft and gas from the US would help bridge the trade deficit between the two countries even as they agreed to hold official talks soon to address trade and economic irritants between them.

In his interaction with business leaders during his just-concluded visit to the US, the minister noted the encouraging growth in trade volumes through purchases of US-made civilian aircraft by Indian companies and enhanced cooperation in the area of energy, including procurement of petroleum and LNG by India from the US.

In 2017-18, India had a $21-billion trade surplus with the US. Prabhu pointed out to new market opportunities in these as well as other areas, adding that these purchases had already led to the reduction in the bilateral trade deficit in 2017.

India and the US have been embroiled in a series of trade spats as the US has imposed additional import duties on steel and aluminum from India, delayed the extension of the generalized system of preferences offering duty-free/low duty market access to many Indian products and initiated a dispute targeting New Delhi’s export promotion schemes.

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