[Ip-health] Wall Street Journal: U.S., India Draft Trade Pact for Unveiling in Possible Trump Visit

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sat Jan 18 02:37:22 PST 2020


https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-india-draft-trade-pact-for-unveiling-in-possible-trump-visit-11579266484

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The U.S. wants India to lift price caps on heart stents and knee implants,
and address U.S. intellectual property concerns, the people familiar with
the discussions said. The U.S. also seeks greater access for its
agricultural and dairy products on the Indian market. The U.S. demand that
India buy more American dairy products could be complicated by concerns in
India that U.S. dairy cattle are fed nonvegetarian food, according to a
senior official at India’s Trade Ministry, who declined to be identified as
the talks aren’t public.


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U.S., India Draft Trade Pact for Unveiling in Possible Trump Visit

‘Mini-deal’ could ease U.S. concerns over India trade practices, restore
India’s preferred trade status in U.S.

By Rajesh Roy in New Delhi and Andrew Restuccia in Washington
Jan. 17, 2020 8:08 am ET


Officials in India and the U.S. are preparing a limited bilateral trade
agreement that could be unveiled during a visit by President Trump to New
Delhi in the coming weeks, current and former government officials in both
countries said.

The pact, described by a former U.S. government official as a “mini-deal,”
could ease some of the U.S.’s longstanding concerns with India’s trade and
economic practices, while in return restoring India’s preferential trade
status, allowing the nation to ship billions of dollars of duty-free
products to the U.S.

The deal wouldn’t be comparable in scale to those the U.S. has recently
negotiated with Mexico, Canada and Japan, people familiar with the
discussions said. It is also unlikely to include a reduction in tariffs on
either side. Senior U.S. and Indian officials have met multiple times in
recent months to discuss the array of trade irritants.

The White House and India’s Ministry of External Affairs are in talks over
a potential visit to New Delhi by Mr. Trump. The dates haven’t been
finalized, and the visit will depend on the progress of the impeachment
trial of the president in the U.S. Senate, said an official at India’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs with knowledge of the discussions. The visit
would be Mr. Trump’s first to India as U.S. president. His predecessor
Barack Obama visited India in 2015.

“We are working on a mutually convenient date through diplomatic channels,”
the official said.

India and the U.S., despite broadening their diplomatic and military ties
in the past decade, have seen trade tensions grow in recent months, with
Mr. Trump speaking out against high Indian tariffs on goods such as
automobiles and electronics even as he touted his close personal rapport
with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

U.S. goods-and-services trade with India totaled an estimated $142.1
billion in 2018, according to data from the U.S. trade representative.

Last year, the U.S. removed India from its Generalized System of
Preferences, which had enabled India to avoid tariffs on certain exports to
the U.S. in the interest of promoting trade ties. The move was intended to
pressure New Delhi to open the country’s markets to U.S. medical devices
and dairy products.

Officials stressed that the nascent agreement hasn’t been finalized and
remains in flux.

The White House and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative didn’t
respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for India’s Trade Ministry declined to comment. A spokesman
for Mr. Modi couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. wants India to lift price caps on heart stents and knee implants,
and address U.S. intellectual property concerns, the people familiar with
the discussions said. The U.S. also seeks greater access for its
agricultural and dairy products on the Indian market. The U.S. demand that
India buy more American dairy products could be complicated by concerns in
India that U.S. dairy cattle are fed nonvegetarian food, according to a
senior official at India’s Trade Ministry, who declined to be identified as
the talks aren’t public.

Both sides have been pressing for tariff reduction, the U.S. of Indian
tariffs on some electronic goods, telecom gear, mobile handsets and
automobiles, and India of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the
official at India’s Trade Ministry said.

In September, Mr. Trump showed up at an event Indian Americans put on for
Mr. Modi in Houston. The negotiations over a possible trade deal slowed
after Mr. Modi’s visit to the U.S., but have picked up again as planning
for Mr. Trump’s trip to India has intensified, according to the senior
official at India’s Trade Ministry.

There have been two rounds of meetings over the past two weeks headed by
Trade Minister Piyush Goyal to work out the details of a possible deal, an
Indian government official said.

Write to Rajesh Roy at rajesh.roy at wsj.com and Andrew Restuccia at
Andrew.Restuccia at wsj.com


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Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org


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