United States President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he was “saving the big deal for later on”, referring to a possible trade deal with India when he visits New Delhi and Ahmedabad on February 24 and 25, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
“Well, we can have a trade deal with India, but I’m really saving the big deal for later on,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to California. “I don’t know if it will be done before the [US presidential] election. We’re not treated very well by India, but I happen to like Prime Minister Narendra Modi a lot.” The US presidential elections are scheduled for November this year.
Negotiations between India and the US have centred around preferential access to the Indian market for American makers of stents and other medical devices as well as dairy farmers. India has offered the United States partial access to its poultry and dairy markets in an effort to sign a limited trade deal, a report said on February 14.
India is the world’s largest milk-producing country. However, it has hesitated to open its dairy market in order to protect the livelihoods of eight crore rural households engaged in the industry.
The US is India’s second-largest trade partner after China, and bilateral trade between the two countries climbed to a record $142.6 billion in 2018. The US has a trade deficit of over $23 billion with India. However, last year, Trump kicked India out of a programme for developing countries that allows duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.
The report last week cited unidentified government officials as saying that India has offered to import to US chicken legs, turkey and produce such as blueberries and cherries. It has also offered to cut tariffs on chicken legs from 100% to 25%. However, US officials who are part of the negotiations want the tariff to be reduced to 10%.
Hours before the announcement of Trump’s visit to India earlier this month, the United States had said that it had approved the possible sale of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System to India at an estimated cost of $1.87 billion (approximately Rs 1,300 crore).