Commerce Ministry officials on Friday met trade officials from the US and discussed ways to improve trade relations been the two countries. "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.
US President Trump has repeatedly raised the issue of India putting high import duties on American products.
A team led by Assistant US Trade Representative (AUSTR) for South and Central Asia, Christopher Wilson, will hold the meeting with senior government officials here.
The USTR delegation is likely to meet commerce minister Piyush Goyal along with key trade officials on Friday. "But Trump's tweet has shown their intention is to continue with a tough stance", another official said. "Our approach is to engage with them constructively in a positive manner".
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.
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Additional secretary in the commerce ministry Sanjay Chadha led the talks for India. "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 meeting was cordial and aimed at providing a new impetus to bilateral trade and commercial ties, in line with the mandate given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump during their meeting at Osaka, Japan on June 28, 2019".
In a recent meeting, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told trade ministry officials that "Trump is clearly preparing for a larger game, a larger opening", according to one of the officials aware of the discussions.
Trade between and India and the U.S. was worth $142.1 billion in 2018, with India having a surplus of $24.2 billion. 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. The trade tensions between the two nations escalated on June 5 when Washington rolled back the privileges that New Delhi was enjoying under their GSP or Generalised System of Preferences programme.
India had on Thursday said that its approach is to engage constructively and positively with the U.S. and the two sides are looking at resolving several issues including that of tariff related. The US wants greater market access for its dairy products and cut in customs duties in information and communications technology products. The US would urge India to ease restrictions on ecommerce and data localisation norms which impact American companies like MasterCard and Walmart. Stating that the U.S. has taken a "unilateral position" in rolling back export incentives from India, the government has asserted that it would not allow trade negotiations to overtake issues of national interest.