United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has cancelled his plans to visit India this week for the US-India CEO Forum, a spokesperson for the agency said on Wednesday. Ross, who was to be a co-chair of the forum that was set to begin in New Delhi on Thursday, deciced not to travel to India because of “inclement weather” and problems with his flight, Reuters reported.
“Due to inclement weather, technical problems that led to the cancellation of his flight and other logistical issues, Secretary Ross regrets he is no longer able to attend the CEO Forum and Commercial Dialogue in person,” said a spokesperson for the US-India CEO Forum. India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu was to hold dialogue with Ross.
“He intends to participate in most of the sessions remotely and thanks our private sector and the Government of India hosts for their continued partnership as we further strengthen the ties between our two countries,” PTI quoted the spokesperson as saying.
The US Department of Commerce said the senior Trump administration official would participate in the dialogue through videoconferencing. “US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster will lead the discussions for the India-US CEO Forum and commercial dialogue,” the department added.
The other co-chairs for the forum are Tata Sons Chairperson Natarajan Chandrasekaran, and American Tower Corporation president and Chairperson James Taiclet. The participants will discuss commercial priorities of the two countries for 2019 and identify new areas of cooperation.
India and the US are also negotiating a package to boost bilateral trade. Annual bilateral trade between New Delhi and Washington DC increased from $58 billion in 2007 to $127 billion in 2017.
But the US government is considering revoking India’s zero-tariff status, Reuters quoted sources as saying. US President Donald Trump has criticised India’s “high import tariffs” on goods such as motorbikes and whiskey. In January, India slashed import duty on Harley Davidson and Triumph bikes after Trump threatened to impose retaliatory taxes.