In order to resolve several sore trade points, a delegation of officials were led by the U.S. ambassador Kenneth I. Juster to hold talks with the Indian Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday, 14th Feb.
The delegation also included discussions on the concerns of American CEOs regarding doing business in India and bilateral trade imbalance.
In the light of recent developments where the U.S. has again threatened to withdraw the export exemptions for India, the status of the review of India’s eligibility for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) was also a main bone of contention between the two parties.
The discussions were participated remotely by the U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross due to the cancellation of his scheduled trip as inclement weather and logistical issues came up as hurdles.
India's new data localization rules that force foreign companies to store Indians' data within the country was among other significant issues that incensed American businesses. Besides this, Indian government's call-out to amend the FDI rules has also hurt American giants like Walmart and Amazon.
The Indo-U.S. CEO Forum held on Thursday, 14th Feb kept these burning issues to the centrestage. With the U.S. President Donald Trump’s notifying the imposition of higher import tariffs on steel and aluminium last March, the tensions between the two countries have risen and this has affected several other countries including India.
Counter-tariffs on 29 American goods were announced by India in retaliation, which amounted to worth about $235 million. However India has delayed implementing them in hopes of the matter getting resolved through bilateral talks.
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) followed the orders of the U.S. President closely regarding the announcement of putting India's eligibility for GSP. Under this, India is allowed duty-free exports to the U.S. for about 2000 product lines under review. By lowering their costs, GSP boosts the competitiveness of American manufacturers. Approximately around two-thirds of U.S. imports under the GSP are raw materials, components or machinery and equipment used by the U.S. for domestic consumption or for export.
The forum focused on ways to resolve the trade imbalance between India and the U.S. that stood as the sore point in India’s export to the U.S. that stood at $47.9 billion and imports at $26.7 billion in 2017-18.
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