India's Increase In Barriers Complicate Trade Talks With Washington - US Official

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd February, 2020) The United States is increasingly concerned about India's new trade barriers, an issue that needs to be addressed before the countries can reach a comprehensive commercial agreement, a senior US administration official told reporters on Friday.

The official downplayed expectations of a breakthrough during US President Donald Trump's visit to India next week.

"We have had a number of announcements coming from India in the past several weeks which are making the discussion a bit more difficult," the official said at a press briefing. "What we see as an increase in barriers, not a decrease would certainly come up among the leaders."

Trump himself indicated that during his two-day trip to India a trade agreement may be inked along the lines of deals previously signed with Japan, China, Canada and Mexico. He admitted outstanding issues, however, could delay the signing until after the US presidential election in November.

"Whether or not there will be an announcement... is wholly dependent on what Indians are prepared to do," the official added. "It's a pretty wide scope frankly of important service and goods access issues that we need to address."

Among the issues he mentioned the "Make in India" initiative, encouraging both foreign and domestic companies to manufacture their products within the country.

The United States is India's second largest goods export market after the European Union, and third largest goods import supplier after China and the EU. Last year the US had a trade deficit with India of over $23 billion. The countries have been engaged in mutual tariff hikes campaign since 2018 as Trump is vying for broader access for American manufacturers.

The official said that United States and India would announce a number of significant commercial deals in key sectors of cooperation, including possibly defense and energy.