Commerce Ministry, US officials to hold parleys on trade tariff

Commerce Ministry, US officials to hold parleys on trade tariff

Agency News

New Delhi, Jul 11: India and the US on Thursday kick-started the crucial round of official level talks to resolve the trade tariff impasse days after the US President Donald Trump made a strong observation that higher tariff imposed by the Narendra Modi government on multiple items were "not acceptable" to his administration.

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 but hastened to add "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 when Prime Minister and US President Trump met that officials from both sides will meet to resolve all outstanding issues related to trade," he said.

"I think it is important to keep in mind that when we discuss these issues that the trajectory of relationship remains positive," Mr Kumar said.

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.

"We have to wait and see and how the issues are addressed, I will not be able to get into the details ....and we have to wait for the result of the talks," MEA spokesman said.

Meanwhile, sources said the US delegation is likely to meet Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday for parleys on the trade issues.

The negotiations between India and the US are taking place especially after President Trump had tweeted: "India has long had a field day putting Tariffs on American products. No longer acceptable".

President Trump had tweeted on July 9 even as both he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held parleys on these issues at Osaka in Japan on the sidelines of G20 Summit on June 29.

USTR sources have indicated that since elections are over in India, both sides would find it easier now to commence talks on 'relationship-building' vis-a-vis trade front.

It has been generally given to understand that higher tariffs imposed by the Modi government is also linked to recent elections that has led the Modi government to push for nationalist policies with higher tariffs on various items including electronic goods to tighter controls on foreign firms to help foster domestic companies and create avenues for jobs. (UNI)