The commerce ministers of India and the US will meet soon to iron out differences on trade following a directive issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump after a bilateral meet on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.
Briefing reporters on the Modi-Trump meeting, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said: “There was a discussion on trade, both sides aired their concerns, both sides spoke about the interests of the other side... it was agreed that the trade ministers of both countries would meet at an early date and try and sort out these issues.”
The foreign secretary said India had taken action after Washington revoked the duty-free scheme for its exporters (Generalised System of Preferences) by imposing retaliatory tariffs on 28 products from the US.
However, he said, the two countries should now look forward to resolve the issues.
Both US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin were in the room when the two top leaders met.
“So what we expect now (is) an early meeting — whether it will be at the level of the commerce and industry minister and the US trade representative or if we will first have technical discussions, that is an issue to be decided,” the foreign secretary said.
The US feels Indian policies discriminate against American companies. The US firms have flagged their concerns about capping the prices of medical devices and lack of market access for their dairy products.
India has said it is willing to find a reasonable solution but it has to match the country’s public health concerns and requirements. On the dairy sector, the country has informed the US authorities about the use of animal derived feed in the US for its cattle, which may hurt Indian religious and cultural sentiment.
India and four other BRICS nations on Friday called for a rules-based multilateral trading system, as embodied in the WTO, to ensure a transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive international trade, amid growing protectionism.
Prime Minister Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro met on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit and exchanged views on international politics, security and global economic-financial issues, as well as challenges facing sustainable development.
In a joint press statement after the meeting, the five leaders noted that the world economic growth appears to be stabilising and was generally projected to pick up moderately later this year and into 2020.