Stage set for US trade delegation meeting with Commerce Minister Goyal

New Delhi, :  A crucial round of discussions is likely to take place on Friday between a high-level US delegation and Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to address the differences on the complex tariff issue.
The meeting comes days after the US President Donald Trump made a strong observation that higher tariff imposed by the Modi government on multiple items were “not acceptable” to his administration.
The US administration is concerned over higher tariffs and American companies have also raised concerns over price cap on certain medical devices.
The Trump administration is keen for greater market access for its dairy products and decrease in customs duties in information and communications technology products, sources say.
India and the US on Thursday kick-started the crucial round of official level talks to resolve the trade tariff impasse.
From the US side the delegation is led by Assistant US Trade Representative (AUSTR) for South and Central Asia, Christopher Wilson and from the Indian side it is being led by an Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Commerce.
“Our approach is to engage them very constructively and in a very positive manner,” MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters here.
However, he also maintained that “We have to keep in mind the bigger picture and within that big picture we have to deal with all issues”.
“It was decided in Osaka (in June) when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Trump met that officials from both sides will meet to resolve all outstanding issues related to trade,” he has said on Thursday fielding questions at the regular weekly media briefing.
Asked if India was feeling the impact of US pressure and was defensive about the entire issue, the MEA spokesman said, “There are quite a few issues on the table; and many of the issues got discussed during Trump-Modi meet”.
“We are looking forward to resolve those issues, we are looking forward to constructive engagement with US in these matters,” he said adding many of the trade-related issues are technical in nature.
At Friday’s meeting, India is expected to highlight efforts to correct the trade imbalance with the US — New Delhi’s trade surplus with Washington fell sharply to $17.12 billion by March 31, 2019 from $21.26 billion a year ago.
India has imposed higher tariffs on almost 30 American products in response to President Trump’s decision on June 1 to end a special trade concession on $6.3 billion of Indian goods shipped to the US.
“India has long had a field day putting Tariffs on American products. No longer acceptable,” President Trump had tweeted even as both he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held parleys on these issues at Osaka in Japan on the margins of G20 Summit.

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