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Piyush Goyal and team working hard for trade deal

President Donald Trump had said on Tuesday that the US will soon sign a trade deal with India at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 26, 2019, 07.39 AM IST
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New Delhi: Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and his team of officials were engaged in intense negotiations with US representatives on Wednesday to work out a trade package, ET has learnt. Goyal held direct talks with the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and will continue discussions in Washington on Friday, when he will meet Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is scheduled to visit India next month, ET has learnt.

President Donald Trump had said on Tuesday that the US will soon sign a trade deal with India at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, where the two sides announced “significant progress” on a number of outstanding issues.

“We are doing very well. Robert Lighthizer is right here negotiating with India. I think, very soon we will have a trade deal,” Trump had told reporters. “We will have a larger deal down the road but we will have a trade deal very soon.” On his part, Modi said: “As far as trade is concerned, I am very happy that in my presence in Houston there was an agreement signed by Indian company Petronet for $2.5 billion, the investment it will make in the energy sector.

This will mean that in the years to come, it will result in trade of $60 billion and create 50,000 jobs, which I think is a big initiative taken by India.”

The US has been pressuring India to lower duties on its products and address trade deficit. On the table are discussions on restoration of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), price controls on medical devices, duty cuts on Harley Davidson bikes and market access to American agricultural commodities.

Specifically, there is a discussion around India making a commitment to revisit current price controls on medical devices within a timeframe, if not an immediate release of these caps.

The US wants India to do away with price controls on devices with innovative features and keep them separate from mass products. The US also wants India to scrap 20% tariffs that exist on information and communication technology (ICT) goods.

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