US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. (AFP)
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. (AFP)

US open to discussion with India on GSP programme, says Mike Pompeo

  • Pompeo, who will be in New Delhi on 25-26 June, will seek to lay the groundwork for a meeting between Trump and Modi
  • The US is open to dialogue to resolve trade differences with India by allowing US companies more access to Indian markets, says Pompeo

NEW DELHI : The US could discuss its decision to withdraw duty-free benefits to Indian exporters under the generalized system of preferences (GSP) scheme, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

“As we democracies have come to know, that we work out our disagreements. We bring them to the table honestly and fairly. And we’ll probably discuss the recent decision on the GSP programme," Pompeo said at the India Ideas Summit of the US-India Business Council in Washington.

Pompeo also borrowed a line from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to say that the governments of US President Donald Trump and Modi have the “unique opportunity" of seizing the chance to take India-US relations to the next level.

“As Prime Minister Modi said in his latest campaign, ‘Modi hai to mumkin hai,’ or ‘Modi makes it possible’, I’m looking forward to exploring what’s possible between our people," he said.

Pompeo is due in New Delhi on 25-26 June on the first leg of an Asia tour that will also see him visit Sri Lanka on his way to the G20 Summit in Osaka. After the G20 meet, Pompeo will travel to South Korea.

The trips are seen as broadly aimed at deepening US partnerships in the strategic Indo-Pacific region. In New Delhi, Pompeo will seek to lay the groundwork for a meeting between Trump and Modi in Japan during talks with his Indian counterpart, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar.

Ties between the two countries have warmed considerably in the past two decades with more bilateral visits at the US presidential and senior official levels than ever before. However, relations are currently weighed down by a series of trade irritants, something that Pompeo alluded to in his speech.

The US, he said, is open to dialogue to resolve trade differences with India by allowing US companies more access to Indian markets. “We remain open to dialogue and we hope that our friends in India will drop their trade barriers and trust in the competitiveness of their own companies, their own businesses, their own people, and private sector companies," Pompeo said. “We’ll also push for the free flow of data across borders, not just to help American companies, but to protect data and ensure consumer privacy," he said.


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