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US President Donald Trump’s Two Different Takes On Trade Deal With India Creates Suspense

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Days ahead of his much hyped India visit, United States President Donald Trump has issued two different statements on the Trade deal that has created lot of suspense about the likely outcome in the coming days.

First,  he said that India has been hitting the US “very hard” on trade for many years with high tariffs, according to US President Donald Trump who said he will “talk business” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his first visit to the country.

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

“I’m going to India next week and we’re talking trade. They’ve been hitting us very hard for many, many years,” Trump said at a ‘Keep America Great’ rally in Colorado.

And soon after this tough line , came another, “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.

Trump told thousands of his supporters that he “really likes” Prime Minister Modi and they would be talking business.

“We’ve got to talk a little…We’ve got to talk a little business. It’s been hitting us hard. They give us tariffs, one the highest in the world is India,” he said.

Trump, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, is scheduled to travel to Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi on February 24 and 25.

Ahead of the visit, there have been talks about India and the United States agreeing on a trade package as a precursor to a major trade deal.

During his commencement address, Trump indicated that the talks on this might slowdown if he did not get a good deal.

“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.

“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 said.

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 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.

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