India, US yet to resolve issues for trade deal: Sources

India, US yet to resolve issues for trade deal: Sources

With less than 10 days left for the visit of US President Donald Trump to India, officials of both the countries are yet to resolve differences in various sectors, including agriculture, poultry and dairy, essential for a trade pact, sources said.

They said the deal between India and the US should be mutually beneficial and it should not compromise India's interest.

Although talks are going on between the officials of the two countries, there is no clarity if a trade pact will be signed during Trump's two-day visit, beginning February 24.

The sources said India has clearly stated that dairy and milk products should not be derived from animals that are fed internal organs, blood meal, or tissues of ruminant origin as it would hurt sentiments of the society at large.

Further, they said that after withdrawal of export incentives by the US, under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme, India's exports of those products to America have recorded a growth of about 11 per cent in December.

Under GSP, India was exporting 1,900 items from sectors like chemicals and engineering. It was rolled back by the US last year.

Meanwhile, the expected visit of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this month, ahead of the Trump's visit, to discuss the trade package with India is unlikely, an official said.

"Lighthizer was supposed to hold discussions with commerce ministry team but as of now, he is not coming," the official said.

The visit of USTR assumed significance as Indian and US officials are engaged in talks for a limited trade deal.

The two countries are negotiating a trade package to iron out certain issues and promote two-way commerce.

India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their GSP, and greater market access for its products from sectors such as agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering.

On the other hand, the US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items, medical devices, and data localisation, apart from cut on import duties on some information and communication technology products. The US has also raised concerns over high trade deficit with India.

In 2018-19, India's exports to the US stood at USD 52.4 billion, while imports were USD 35.5 billion. Trade deficit dipped from USD 21.3 billion in 2017-18 to USD 16.9 billion in 2018-19.

India received FDI worth USD 3.13 billion from the US in 2018-19, higher than USD 2 billion in 2017-18. 

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