Trade deals are not simple arithmetic but much more complicated as they involve a number of variables, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said, exuding confidence that India and US will “find a fix” to their trade disputes with intense engagement going on between the two countries.
Trade tensions between India and the US have been rising with American President Donald Trump complaining that tariffs imposed by New Delhi on American products were “no longer acceptable”.
Trump, championing his ‘America First’ policy, has been a vocal critic of India for levying “tremendously high” duties on US products. He has described India as a “tariff king”.
Ahead of the New Delhi visit of US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for trade talks with his Indian counterpart Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Jaishankar on Tuesday said he was hopeful that something will come out of this ongoing intense engagement between officials of the two countries on trade issues.
“My understanding of the conversations is that he (Goyal) has had with his counterpart and (that) his officials, have had team to team – that there’s been a very intense engagement. I am hopeful that something would come out of it,” Jaishankar told a meeting of US corporate bodies during an event organised by US India Strategic and Partnership Forum.
Trade officials from the two countries would naturally want progress on what are considered to be the outstanding issues, he said.
“But I think there’s also some desire to look beyond. So when people speak about what’s gonna be the a trade deal, we’ll have to see about that goes,” he said.
Whether one draws a sharper kind of framework for the certain set of issues, then look beyond or does one attack a more ambitious agenda, which will obviously then take more time, he said.
“So it’s going to be sort of you trade the size of it and the complexity of it for the time and the energy for it. I think that part of it is still a little open, but again, my understanding is that they would be talking with each other continually over the coming days,” Jaishankar said.
Jaishankar said he had seen much more difficult issues which have been creatively resolved.
“I can’t believe that people today are less ingenious than we were in our time. So I’m reasonably confident that we will find a fix,” the top Indian diplomat said.