Trump urges India to reduce obstacles to trade
The Dollar Business Bureau
The US President urged the Indian Prime Minister to relax the trade barriers in order to reduce their trade deficit. Speaking to the media at the historic Rose Gardens in the White House both the leaders appeared to be at ease with one another and read out statements that portrayed the importance of a strong US-India relationship.
Watched by the world media, both the leaders stressed the strong commitment being made towards bilateral relations.
Prime Minister Modi said, “I deeply appreciate your strong commitment to the enhancement of our bilateral relations. I am sure that under your leadership a mutually beneficial strategic partnership will gain new strength, new positivity, and will reach new heights."
President Trump during his address made it clear that he would like to see a trading relationship that is ‘fair and reciprocal.’ He said there is a need for more balance in the US-India trade relationship as he had promised during his election campaign, so that there is an expansion in American exports and the creation of jobs in his country.
And for that to happen it was imperative that US goods should be allowed more freely into India which would ultimately lead to a reduction in US trade deficit, he said.
It should be recalled here that prior to Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the US, four top US lawmakers, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Ron Wyden, Congressman Kevin Brady and Congressman Richard Neal, had written to the US President urging him to prioritise the elimination of trade and investment "barriers" by India during his upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In their letter they had stressed, "While Indian businesses continue to benefit from open US markets, India has failed to eliminate, or even address concretely, multiple trade and investment barriers that have been the focus of recent bilateral and multilateral fora," the letter stated.
"At the same time, India has imposed several new significant barriers that have harmed US producers across all sectors of our economy, including services, manufacturing, and agriculture. Prime Minister Modi's visit provides an opportunity once again to press India for results," the lawmakers said in the letter dated June 23.
The lawmakers also mentioned that ‘in recent years the US and India have sought to strengthen economic engagement through the bilateral Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the Trade Policy Forum (TPF).’
"Yet these high-level discussions have not resulted in the elimination of major trade and investment barriers or even deterred India from imposing new barriers. Many sectors of the Indian economy remain highly and unjustifiably protected, and India continues to be a difficult place for American companies to do business," they wrote.
In 2016, the US trade deficit with India was close to $31 billion.
The US president also touched upon the recent 100 American aircraft order that India had placed and said that his country is keen to sign agreements to export more natural gas to India.
PM Modi on his part assured his American counterpart that the convergence of his vision of a ‘New India’ and President Trump’s vision of ‘Make America Great Again’ will add new dimensions to their cooperation.