US wants India to embrace fair and reciprocal trade, lower barriers

Washington: The Trump Administration wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lower trade barriers and embrace fair and reciprocal trade, the United States said Tuesday hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in New Delhi on a three-day visit.

“There is enormous potential to grow our trade relationship and create the high-quality jobs that Prime Minister Modi wants if India lowers trade barriers and embraces fair and reciprocal trade,” according to a State Department Fact Sheet.

Bilateral trade is likely to be an important topic of discussion during Pompeo’s talks with the Indian leadership.

US companies see great opportunity in India, and increased economic openness and investment will yield mutual benefit.

“The Trump Administration is working to ensure that American companies operating in India have the same level playing field that Indian companies enjoy in the United States,” it said.

The State Department said as India’s number one overseas market, the US purchases close to one-fifth of its exports. India is also the fastest growing major market for US goods.

Two-way bilateral goods and services trade with India totalled USD 142 billion in 2018, up 12.6 per cent, or almost USD16 billion, over the previous year.

US crude oil exports to India are surging, increasing India’s energy security while reducing its bilateral trade deficit.

The United States exported nearly 50 million barrels of crude to India in 2018, compared to less than 10 million barrels in 2017, and is on pace to export even greater volumes in 2019, it said.

US defense sales to India are estimated to reach approximately USD18 billion by 2019 from near zero in 2008, boosting India’s national security capabilities and increasing employment in both countries, it said.