India and the United States are working overtime to finalise an early trade pact and thus ensure that a powerful market of a combined population of world’s largest democracy and most powerful democracy will offer a win-win situation to both the sides. An improved trade ties with India – which is likely to be emphasised yet again in next few days especially during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US – will help Trump administration at a time when it is engaged in trade related confrontation with China. Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has already said that both sides are involved in dialogue on a number of issues.
Giving broad hints that the trade disputes between New Delhi and Washington could be handled, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar told reporters here on Tuesday – that “only way not to have trade dispute is not to have trade at all”. Moreover, he said most trade issues crop up only when the relations are sound between two sides. Dr Jaishankar also said that “sharper edges” in trade relations between India and the US will be addressed in the “not too distant future”.
“I will talk about a glass that is 90 per cent full rather than a glass that is 10 per cent empty,” he said trying to highlight his optimism and the upward trajectory in bilateral ties. “…The trade problems are normal with people you are closest to since most trade happens with them,” the External Affairs Minister has said and also pointed out that – “there is no facet of the relationship today which has not gone upwards over the past 20 years”. In the past few months, no less than US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has tried to forge a ‘new kind’ of cooperation with India.
Moreover, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer-led team is also on the job. In terms of perspectives, it is presumed that the US could be expecting from India “easier and business friendly atmosphere” for the American companies to operate in India. The new pact may also focus on agricultural market access, reduction in IT tariffs and medical device pricing. For its part, the Trump administration may allow India’s ‘re-entry’ to Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) and thereby help reduce prices of India-made goods in the US.