India US Trade Deal Soon: Piyush Goyal

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India’s trade talks with the United States are moving in a positive direction, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said and reiterated that the two countries would reach a trade deal soon.

“The talks are continuing in a very positive spirit, as was alluded to by President Donald Trump, and by PM Modi,” Goyal told leading media agency ANI. “I don’t see any rush to draw any timeline on that. As President Trump said, We will announce a deal very soon. Then we will follow it with a greater engagement going forward with the United States. The direction is very positive,” he said. Goyal said the US’ response to trade talks was “extremely encouraging”.

“I think the chemistry and the bonding between the two leaders, and the positive relationships that people of the US and India share also reflected in the trade talks in terms of the positivity on both sides,” said the union minister. Tensions on the trade front between the two countries had emerged in June after US President Donald Trump revoked its preferential trade privileges, to which India responded with tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds and apples.

India had been the biggest beneficiary of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), a programme designed to help developing countries sell to US consumers. Goyal had flown to New York straight from Dubai to hold discussions with his US counterpart Robert Lighthizer in this regard. “We had very good discussions with the United States, I personally built up a very good rapport with my US counterpart. Trade talks are quite complex, you don’t just rush into announcing something or finalising something. One has to take care of all aspects of the trade, the various dimensions, there are a lot of complex calculations around trade talks,” he said.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said that New Delhi and Washington have narrowed down the areas of differences in trade talks and both PM Modi and Trump are optimistic about reaching “some kind of a trade agreement in the near future”. On being asked about PM Modi’s meeting with CEOs of the top US firms, Goyal said, “the sense we get after talking to top CEO’s is that they are eager to look at coming to India”, adding that New Delhi would make efforts towards creating an environment to facilitate their entry to the country.

“(Furthermore), we will facilitate both domestic business and industry to co-exist with the international players and take the benefit to the people of India,” said Gokhale.

Goyal who had flown into the US from Dubai said that the Abu Dhabi investment authority and other sovereign funds in the Gulf “are looking at India as a next big opportunity for investment.” On being asked about Trump’s apparent cold response to Pakistan over state-sponsored terrorism, Goyal said, “President Trump is extremely firm that we have to fight against terrorism. The body language, discussions, and actions, all reflect the growing concern towards the issue, both internationally and the US.”

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