India and the US failed to announce a limited trade deal in New York during the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, due to still prevailing differences over the package.
Trump, in his interaction with reporters ahead of his bilateral meeting with Modi, had expressed hope that both sides will “very soon” conclude a limited trade pact while a comprehensive free trade agreement will be signed later.
Briefing reporters after the bilateral meeting, India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhle said the issues are complex as the package involves industries and jobs on both sides. “We are looking for a fair and reasonable trade deal in which our request for market access is secured while also addressing the trade deficit issue raised by the US,” said Gokhle.
Commerce minister Piyush Goyal who has flown to New York is having discussions with his US counterpart Robert Lighthizer. “Both leaders reviewed the discussions that are ongoing. The two leaders felt they are optimistic both sides reaching some kind of a trade agreement in near future,. Discussions will continue in this regard,” he added.
India-US bilateral relationship deteriorated under Trump administration after Washington withdrew zero duty benefits to Indian exporters worth $5.6 billion, with New Delhi imposing retaliatory tariffs on 29 products imported from the US.
Forum For Trade Justice, a non-profit organization in a statement said an FTA with the US when the Indian economy is on the brink of economic downturn and needs strong domestic policies is a decision that is not in national or public interest. “Any FTA with the US will also include the obligation to sign the International Convention for the Protection of Varieties of Plants which promotes the interests of corporate plant breeders and deprives farmers off their seed sovereignty, impacting their livelihoods and food security,” it added.