Along the sidelines of G20 summit to be held in Osaka in June end PM Modi and Trump will make attempts to settle pressing Trade dissension regading the GSP primarily and make comprehensive strategies over the issue.
The Modi-Trump meeting will be preceded by a meeting between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in Delhi. It is expected that Pompeo will clarify US’s policies and priorities with India.
Washington had taken away India’s privileges under the GSP (generalised system of preferences), a market access privilege granted to developing countries. New Delhi’s retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds and apples were a response to an even earlier US sanction, a set of unilateral tariffs against steel and aluminium imports. Neither India nor US want the dispute to become refractory. The tariffs imposed by both the sides are minor leagues compared to gargantuan US- China tariffs.
US-India bilateral trade was worth $142bn in 2018, a seven fold increase since 2001, according to US figures. But $5.6n worth of Indian exports – previously duty-free in the US will be hit now. The country has lost preferential treatment under America’s (GSP).
President Trump has also threatened to impose sanctions if India purchases oil from Iran and if it goes ahead with plans to buy Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.
Trade is a problem for India and US, however the strategic dimension is taking progress. US wants to sell fighter air crafts and missile defense system to India. India too has ordered Sea Guardians, multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ helicopters and NASAMS from US. The trade dispute needs to be the first priority of both governments.