New Delhi: Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar on Monday said most of the trade disputes between India and the US are “resolvable in the near term", as he ruled out pushing the issue for the next American administration to deal with.
In an event organised by the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Relationship think-tank, Jaishankar said the foreign policy and priorities of the Modi government is in tune with the realities of a New India, which is currently the fifth largest global economy and is soon going to be the third largest, PTI reported.
“Most of the trade disputes (with the US) are resolvable in the near term," Jaishankar told the audience at the start of his first visit to the US after taking office as foreign minister. He said the Modi government was of the view that the trade irritants had to be resolved as early as possible and not leave it for the next administration to deal with.
The US presidential election is scheduled to be held in November 2020. India and the US are negotiating a trade package to iron out irritants and promote two-way commerce.
India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), greater market access for its products from sectors, including agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering, the PTI report said.
The US, on its part, wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices, and cut on import duties on some products. The US has also raised concerns over high trade deficit with India.
In 2018-19, India’s exports to the US stood at $52.4 billion, while imports were $35.5 billion. Trade deficit dipped from $21.3 billion in 2017-18 to $16.9 billion in 2018-19.
India received FDI worth $3.13 billion from the US in 2018-19, higher than $2 billion in 2017-18.
Stating that prime minister Narendra Modi’s second term in office would carry on with its neighbourhood first policy, he said Bangladesh has emerged as the role model of the success of that policy under which India has moved forward in helping its neighbours in their economic development, in particular infrastructure, connectivity and resolving long pending disputes.
Responding to a question on the media coverage of Kashmir after India revoked a temporary provision of its constitution that gave special status to Kashmir last month, the minister said it is almost impossible to find anywhere in the global media that the Article 370 was a temporary provision. "This is because it was not convenient to the story the Western media was pushing. I would not lose my sleep," he said on the negative coverage of the Kashmir issue by the Western press.
“Everything that the liberal press thinks is good for the world was not happening in Jammu and Kashmir," Jaishankar said, explaining how issues like right to work, right to education and those related to women, children and reservations were not being implemented in Jammu and Kashmir because of Article 370.
During his three-day trip to Washington, the minister is scheduled to meet his US counterpart Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and the new National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. He is also scheduled to meet a host of US lawmakers and interact with the think-tank community.