The United States on Friday assured India that it
will not curtail imports to reduce or eliminate the trade deficit of 29.6
billion US Dollars. Trade deficits with various countries especially with
China, has been a red flag for President Donald Trump who had promised American
companies a fair deal globally by expanding exports.
The assurance came from the US Secretary of
Commerce Wilbur Ross in his meeting Friday with Union Commerce Minister Suresh
Prabhu at the third US-India Commercial Dialogue in Washington, the first the
annual meet of Commerce ministers in President Trump’s regime
United States admitted that the trade deficit was
indeed an issue, the country would deal with it “not by reducing imports from
India but by promoting more exports from the US to India” Commerce Minister
Suresh Prabhu told newsmen after meeting his counterpart in the US capital
according to reports reaching New Delhi.
It was a positive idea that India welcomes and it
meant that we can buy more goods from United States, the minister said.
The Minister also said there was progress on the
long-stalled issues bedeviling export of Indian mangoes, pomegranate, apples
and grapes into the US that were subjected to long inspection delays involving
irradiation which added to cost overruns making them prohibitively expensive in
Alphonso, a prime mango variety awaited by
American consumers every year, retails at almost seven times more than the
standard rivals that come from Mexico and sells quickly.
“While highlighting many areas of progress, both the
countries also noted the need to lower tariff barriers and committed to make
meaningful progress to unlock new trade and investment opportunities for US and
Indian businesses,” India and the US said in a joint statement after Prabhu’s
meeting with Ross.
US trade deficit with India was also a top issue
at Prabhu’s discussions with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on
Thursday as part of the Trade Policy Forum. Prabhu and Lighthizer also
discussed market access and regulated pricing of medical devices for Americans
and H-1B and totalization (social security collections from Indians employed in
the US) for Indians.
In both these meetings the two countries
acknowledged lingering differences on an entire range of trade issues,
reinforcing the notion that this is perhaps the most vulnerable part of the
growing relationship but one that both sides are eager to fix.
Bilateral trade between Indian and the US stands
at 115 billion US dollars, which is thrice the figure in 2005. America’s trade
deficit of 29.6 billion US Dollars had prompted Trump to order an investigation
into all unfavorable trade to ascertain if they were caused by unfair trade
Trump’s war cry on balance of trade has been a
concern for India after he pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,
renegotiated Washington’s position in the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) and even took on allies such as South Korea and Japan and, of course