Washington: Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s scheduled India visit, he said that the two countries could make a “tremendous” trade deal. Trump, however, indicated that the talks on this might slow down if he did not get a good deal. Also Read - Indian Air Force to Provide Security Cover to Air Force One During Donald Trump’s Visit to India
“We’re going to India, and we may make a tremendous deal there,” Trump said in his commencement address at the Hope for Prisoners Graduation Ceremony in Las Vegas. Also Read - Paan Shops Sealed To Keep Walls Clean, Dogs Caged Ahead of Donald Trump's Ahmedabad Visit
“Maybe we’ll slow down. We’ll do it after the election. I think that could happen too. So, we”ll see what happens,” he said. Also Read - ‘More Than 1 Lakh People Will Welcome Donald Trump in Ahmedabad,' Says Vijay Rupani
“But we’re only making deals if they’re good deals because we’re putting America first. Whether people like it or not, we’re putting America first,” Trump added.
Notably, speculation is rife that India and the United States may agree on a trade package as a precursor to a major trade deal.
Trump, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, is scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi on February 24 and 25.
Bilateral India-US trade in goods and services is about three per cent of the US’ world trade.
In a recent report, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said the trading relationship is more consequential for India — in 2018 the United States was its second-largest goods export market (16.0 per cent share) after the European Union (EU, 17.8 per cent), and third-largest goods import supplier (6.3 per cent) after China (14.6 per cent) and the EU 28 (10.2 per cent).
“The Trump Administration takes issue with the US trade deficit with India, and has criticised India for a range of ”unfair” trading practices,” the CRS said.
“Indian Prime Minister Modi’s first term fell short of many observers” expectations, as India did not move forward with anticipated market-opening reforms, and instead increased tariffs and trade restrictions,” it said.
“Modi’s strong electoral mandate may embolden the Indian government to press ahead with its reform agenda with greater vigour. Slowing economic growth in India raises concerns about its business environment,” CRS said.
As per a fact sheet issued by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), trade in goods and services between the two countries from 1999 to 2018 surged from USD 16 billion to USD 142 billion.
India is now the United States’ eighth-largest trading partner in goods and services and is among the world’s largest economies.
(With PTI inputs)