India to open poultry markets to US


India has offered to partially open up its poultry and dairy markets in a bid for a limited trade deal during the US President, Mr. Donald Trump's first official visit to the country this month, people familiar with the protracted talks say.

India, the world's largest milk-producing nation, has traditionally restricted dairy imports to protect the livelihoods of 80 million rural households involved in the industry.

But the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, is trying to pull all the stops for the US President's February 24-25 visit, aimed at rebuilding bonds between the two largest democracies.

In 2019, Mr. Trump suspended India's special trade designation that dated back to 1970s, after Mr. Modi put price caps on medical devices, such as cardiac stents and knee implants, and introduced new data localization requirements and e-commerce restrictions.

Mr. Trump's trip to India has raised hopes that he would restore some of the country's US trade preferences, in exchange for tariff reductions and other concessions.

The US is India's second-largest trade partner after China, and bilateral goods and services trade climbed to a record 142.6 billion dollars in 2018. The US had a 23.2 billion dollars goods trade deficit in 2019 with India, its 9th largest trading partner in goods.

India has offered to allow imports of US chicken legs, turkey and produce such as blueberries and cherries, government sources said, and has offered to cut tariffs on chicken legs from 100 per cent to 25 per cent. US negotiators want that tariff cut to 10 per cent. The Modi government is also offering to allow some access to India's dairy market, but with a 5 per cent tariff and quotas, the sources said. But dairy imports would need a certificate they are not derived from animals that have consumed feeds that include internal organs, blood meal or tissues of ruminants.