India-US trade relations on right track, larger bilateral pact to go beyond ‘mere tinkering’: Piyush Goyal

The two countries slapped higher tariffs on each other's products earlier this year and the U.S. withdrew a key trade concession to India, but have since been trying to work out a limited pact.

India, US have resolved broad contours of trade deal: Piyush Goyal
NEW DELHI: Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said that the India-US trade relationship is at its best and on the right track, and the two might announce a bilateral agreement which will go beyond the “mere tinkering that we are doing at present”.

“We have almost resolved the broad contours of what we are going to announce. I don’t see any great difficulty in closing the gap on the first announcement but both of us are very clear in our minds that given the strong relationship, both at our leaders’ level where PM Modi and President Trump have taken the Indo-US relationship to a new high. We will come out with a first set of agreement soon,” Goyal said at USISPF’s India Leadership Summit here.

He also said that the two sides believe that India and the US should look at much larger engagement in the days ahead “possibly even leading to an announcement for a bilateral agreement which will go beyond the mere tinkering that we are doing at present”.

Goyal said that India is looking to the US for technology, innovation, skills and quality education. India on the other hand offers an attractive market to US businesses and skilled labour that can add value to American companies.

On the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement, Goyal said that every interest of domestic industry and the people has to be protected before the government executes any free trade agreement.

“Government of PM Modi protects India’s national interest first and does not fitter away FTAs like we saw in the

2009-10 period of the Congress regime where agreements were done in a hurry, often asymmetrically against India’s interests and very often with clauses that were detrimental to India with no gains on services, no gains on India’s market access in a significant measure to these countries,” he said on the sidelines.

The minister said that India will ensure that its national interest is protected first on every aspect of services and investment before any agreement is entered into with any country.
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