Working on a Very Big Trade Deal With India

Daniel Fowler
February 21, 2020

President Trump and First Lady Melania are scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi on February 24 and 25.

As Trump heads to India on his first official trip on Monday, negotiators have been trying for weeks to put together a limited accord giving the US greater access to India's dairy and poultry markets and lowering tariffs on other products.

"Well, we can have a trade deal with India, but I'm really saving the big deal for later on". Last, Ritu Sharma details how Ahmedabad is preparing for the visit and why the beautification drive comes at a cost.

Plans for a 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in India were also announced, yet another sign of increasing cooperation between the world's two largest democracies. Trump had said that India had not treated his country "very well" on trade.

Asked whether India was working with the Americans to ensure against any impromptu action by Trump during his stay - particularly on vexed issues like Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act - Kumar said: "On all these issues our position is well known to the U.S. side".

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Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala posed a series of questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him when was US President was invited for the visit and why was he claiming that he was promised a grand event by Modi with 7 million people in attendance. The figure likely reflects a burgeoning trade spat that's erupted between Washington and New Delhi over the previous year, which has seen both nations slap new duties on each other's goods, and the United States even dropping India from its "Generalized System of Preferences", revoking a number of tariff exemptions. I think this question should be addressed to them.

While trade and defense contracts are likely to receive top billing, the US president is highly unlikely to press New Delhi in public on its human rights record, including a controversial new citizenship law that has drawn concern from some American officials, and India's ongoing clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir. It also said India was already working, as the Americans wanted, to address the issue of trade deficit.

Attempts to stifle access to the contested region have also resulted in the U.S. State Department being unable to send in a delegation to see the conditions first-hand.

"But we're only making deals if they're good deals because we're putting America first".

Modi's cabinet was meeting on Wednesday to give formal clearance for a $2.6-billion deal for two dozen military helicopters from US defense firm Lockheed Martin.

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