India, U.S. closing in on trade package deal to remove irritants

Vastavam web: Indian farmers and U.S. manufacturers of medical devices could be among the main winners in a trade package under negotiation, as Washington and New Delhi look to remove long-standing irritants to ties, sources familiar with the talks said. Having skirmished for months over tit-for-tat tariffs on steel and some agricultural products, the two sides began talks in June that also cover India’s concerns over U.S. steel tariffs and U.S. problems with Indian tariffs on imported IT equipment.

Neither the office of the United States Trade Representative or India’s trade ministry responded to a request for comment. The source said the two sides expected to close the deal in the next few weeks. U.S. President Donald Trump, who dislikes multilateral trade agreements, said earlier this month that India had approached the United States to “start doing a trade deal,” without giving any details. Having already waded into bigger fights with China and the European Union, Trump has previously called out India for unfair trade practices. At an estimated $126 billion, U.S. goods and services trade with India last year was less than a fifth of its trade with China.

Unlike some other countries India failed to be given a waiver after the Trump administration imposed new import tariffs on steel and aluminium imports in March. “Our relationship with the U.S. unlike many other nations has not deteriorated,” said an Indian government official involved in the talks. “But if you think relations have become very friendly with a lot of bonhomie, I don’t think that has happened either.”