Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said the India-United States limited trade deal package was “near ready” and could be finalised when the local political situation in America gets conducive. Goyal said that he was ready to sign the deal and both the countries could either look at it before the US presidential elections or after.
“I am open to signing it [the deal] tomorrow what we have agreed upon and I have left it to [US trade representative] Bob [Lighthizer] to take a final call,” he said during the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum’s third Annual Leadership Summit. “We in India believe that it has to be a win-win situation for both India and [the] US.”
Goyal added that the deal was in the best interest of business in both countries as well as to deepen the strategic partnership between India and the US.
The commerce minister said he could have announced the trade deal when US President Donald Trump visited India in February but there were some things that needed to be addressed. “Soon thereafter, we were all faced with Covid,” he said. “Ambassador Lighthizer was working out of home, we had one of the world’s most severe lockdowns, and I suspect we lost valuable time during that period.”
The trade deal is in negotiations since 2018, Mint reported. The deal is expected to cover tariff-related concessions for the US farm produce, especially dairy products, pharma products prices and information and communication technology products. The US, in return, is expected to restore benefits given to Indian exporters under the Generalized System of Preferences. Trump had on June 5 ended the preferential trade treatment accorded to India traders, claiming that New Delhi had not assured Washington that it will “provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets”.
Both sides are also expected to remove the tit-for-tat tariff hikes after Washington hiked aluminium and steel tariffs citing national security.