India and the United States have agreed to hold official talks soon to address the trade and economic irritants between both nations, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Tuesday.
This decision was taken during a series of meetings Prabhu had with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer in Washington during the Indian Minister’s visit from June 10 to 12.
“We will now work together to expand bilateral trade,” Prabhu told reporters in Washington.
He said India would send an official team to work out the details and start comprehensive negotiations on all issues concerning the bilateral trade and economic relationship.
“The team will come within the next few days,” he said.
In March, US President Donald Trump slapped import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, unfolding the prospect of an all-out global trade war. China retaliated in April imposing tariffs as high as 25 per cent on 128 American products.
India has sought an exemption from the US tariffs along the lines the US has allowed to the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea.
Prabhu had earlier said that India would bilaterally take up the issue of recent trade protectionism measures with the US.
According to an Indian Commerce Ministry release, Prabhu also met US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and also had a joint meeting with India Caucus Co-chairs Senator Mark Robert Warner and Senator John Cornyn.
During his visit, Prabhu also addressed business and industry leaders in meetings organised by the US-India Business Council (USIBC) and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and met other stakeholders.
“It’s a great time to join hands with each other and that is the realisation within the (US) administration as well. As you know, we always hear about trade disputes between the US and India, but when I had a meeting with the USTR, the Commerce Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, Senators, it is very clear that we must move on, keeping the issues behind,” Prabhu told industry leaders at a reception hosted by USIBC.
“Every great partnership has areas of agreement and disagreement. I am hopeful that the US investment corridor is only going to grow, and I’m confident that we will be able to bridge our gaps,” he said at the USISPF event.
In his interaction with industry leaders at an event organised by the USISPF, Prabhu spoke about the improvements that have been made in the trade relationship, including trade deficit reduction.
The industry meetings included senior officials from major American companies such as Boston Scientific, FedEx, Walmart, Abbott, UTC, Honeywell, PhRMA, MoneyGram, Lockheed Martin, Koch Industries, Amway, Uber and 21st Century Fox.
Earlier this week, at a press conference during the G7 Summit in Quebec, the US President accused India of levying 100 per cent tariff on some American products.
Trump also threatened he would limit market access to the US and even cut off trade ties if America’s trading partners did not cooperate.