United States President Donald Trump on Thursday said the proposed new Indian tariffs have complicated negotiations, but he will “talk business” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits Ahmedabad and New Delhi on February 24 and 25, PTI reported.

“I’m going to India next week and we’re talking trade,” Trump said at a rally in Colorado. “They’ve been hitting us very hard for many, many years but I really like Prime Minister Modi. We’ve got to talk a little...We’ve got to talk a little business. It’s been hitting us hard. They give us tariffs, one the highest in the world is India.”

Both India and the United States have repeatedly resolved to strengthen trade ties but attempts at working out an agreement failed even during Modi’s visit to Houston in September.

Trump also said the United States “may make a tremendous deal” with India, but also simultaneously indicated that the talks on this might slow down if he did not get a good deal. Earlier, on Tuesday, the president said they were “not treated very well” by India and that he was saving the trade deal for later on.

In New Delhi, an Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday that India will not “rush into” a trade deal with the United States, saying there needed to be a balanced outcome.

The US President also referred to reports that a turnout of nearly 10 million is expected at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad. “I hear around six to 10 million people are going to show along the road to one of the largest cricket stadiums in the world, which is brand new and beautiful,” he added. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi said we will have 10 million people greet you that is my problem. We have a packed house. We have thousands of people who will not be able to get in. It’s going to look like peanuts from now on. How can we be satisfied if we fill a stadium of only 60,000 people,” he asked.

India-US trade deal

A report by United States Congress’ think tank Congressional Research Service, released on February 14, noted that the trading relationship between the two countries is “more consequential for India”. It said that in 2018, the US was India’s second-largest goods export market with a 16.0% share with the European Union in first place (17.8%). The US was also the third largest goods import supplier (6.3%) after China (14.6%) and the European Union 28 (10.2%) in the same 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.