New Delhi: Amid speculations of the possible Indo-US trade deal during President Donald Trump’s much-awaited visit to India, the White House on Saturday said that the scenario is unlikely, maintaining that concerns that led to India’s removal from the Generalized System of Preferences persisted. Also Read - Three-tier Security in Place at Hotel For US President Donald Trump's Visit
An official asserted that talks with India on removing access barriers to the market are still on. The engagement will continue. The official then added that a lot needs to be taken care of before striking a trade deal. Also Read - Ivanka Trump to Accompany Donald Trump, Melania Trump on Their First Official India Visit
The high-powered American delegation led by Trump will likely have a discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about these concerns and continue the discussion beyond this visit, said the senior administration official. Also Read - Donald Trump's 'The Beast' Has Already Arrived in Agra | All You Need to Know
The official said a number of announcements coming from India in the past several weeks, are making the discussions a bit more difficult perhaps.
“Recent announcements on Make in India have made the protectionism concerns in India even greater. So we will be discussing those concerns. And what we see as an increase in barriers, not a decrease, this will certainly come up among the leaders,” the official argued.
“Whether or not there will be announcement on a trade package is, really, wholly dependent upon what the Indians are prepared to do. That said we have a number of significant commercial deals, which are of great significance that we’re very pleased to announce in a number of key sectors,” said the senior administration official.
The senior administration official said “the Make in India push of the Indian government, has made the protectionism concerns” even more of a concern to the United States.
“We’ve seen India’s budget process recently used to raise tariffs on products of interest in the United States. We continue to see important divergences on e-commerce and digital trade. So it’s a pretty wide scope, frankly, of important service and goods access barriers that we need to address,” the official said.
Not only that, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who has been negotiating a trade deal with India, is not travelling with Trump on the India trip. In fact, he had cancelled his earlier trip to India as well.
Notably, Trump and First Lady of US Melania Trump are scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi on February 24 and 25. News is rife that India and the United States may agree on a trade package as a precursor to a major trade deal.