Days after exiting the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal, Piyush Goyal will visit Washington on 13 November to thrash out the pending issues for the proposed trade package in a meeting with his US counterpart Robert Lighthizer.
“Goyal and Lighthizer will hold a bilateral meeting to discuss the outstanding bilateral issues to arrive at a shared understanding on a mutually beneficial basis," a commerce ministry official speaking under condition of anonymity said. On 14 November, Goyal will hold a high-level industry interaction with business and industry representatives in New York. Before that, Goyal will attend the BRICS Trade Ministers meet in Brasilia, Brazil on 11 November.
Speaking at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum last month Goyal said India and the US have agreed on the broad contours of a proposed trade package and may announce it after closing the pending gaps.
Goyal said that by now, India and the US would have announced the package, but for the pre-occupation of United States Trade Representative Lighthizer, first with US-Japan trade negotiations and then with China. “Therefore, probably, the finalization of the trade package got a little delayed. But we have almost resolved the broad contours of what we are going to announce. I don’t see any great difficulty in closing the gaps on the first announcement," he added.
Though it was widely expected that a limited trade deal will be announced during last month’s New York meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, a few niggling issues prevented both sides from making an announcement. US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross last month said there was “no structural reason" why there can’t be a trade deal with India quickly.
The limited or interim trade agreement was expected to incorporate tariff-related concessions for US farm products, pricing of medical devices such as stents and knee implants and lower import duty on Harley Davidson motorcycles, in return for full restoration of duty-free benefits for Indian exporters.