India And US To Sign A Deal On Trump's Visit
Gaps remain between the positions of India and the U.S. in talks over a trade deal, but the United States remains “hopeful”. A deal can be reached before U.S. President Trump’s visit to India in a few weeks, a source close to the trade negotiations said.
Trump is expected to visit India on February 24, 25 and he might be signing a trade deal. However, it is not a given that the deal will be completed before the visit, the source said.
U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer’s reported visit to New Delhi next week to wrap up the deal has not been finalized – a decision on whether he will visit has not been made, the source said.
The U.S. side is also “disappointed” about the tariffs announced in the Union Budget, especially the import cess on medical devices, the close source said.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced a health cess of 5% on medical devices (except those exempt from basic customs duty) to help local manufacturers and finance health infrastructure. A customs duty increase on several agricultural goods including walnuts (kernels) and some dairy products like cheese and butter was also announced.
India and the U.S. have had talks over restoring India’s benefits under the U.S.’s preferential trade system, the GSP, revoked in June last year. The U.S. has also wanted India to remove price caps on medical devices and wanted a deal on dairy products and the elimination of tariffs on ICT products.
Current trade talks include a discussion on partial relief for the U.S. on medical device price caps in India, partial restoration of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for India, and discussions over agricultural products, as per reports.