In a clear sign that now major bilateral trade deal will be signed between US and India during President Donald Trump’s two-day visit to India on February 24, the US president said he is “saving the big deal” with India for later.
President Trump added that he “does not know” if the trade deal will be finalised before the presidential election in November 2020. “We can have a trade deal with India. But I’m really saving the big deal for later,” he told reporters at Joint Base Andrews.
Sources said that the US and India could sign a “trade package” during Trump’s visit. Responding to a question whether he expects a trade deal with India before the visit, Trump said, “We’re doing a very big trade deal with India. We’ll have it. I don’t know if it’ll be done before the election, but we’ll have a very big deal with India.”
It is likely that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the point-person for trade negotiations with India, will not come to India with President Trump.
President Trump also expressed dissatisfaction over US-India trade ties and said that Washington is not treated very well by India. He, however, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he is looking forward to his visit to India. “I happen to like Prime Minister Modi a lot,” Trump said.
“He told me we’ll have seven million people between the airport and the event. And the stadium, I understand, is sort of semi under construction, but it’s going to be the largest stadium in the world. So it’s going to be very exciting… I hope you all enjoy it,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, the latest report of US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) has shown that the data for the last quarter depict the continuation of overall positive bilateral trade trends. The third quarter data, however, reflects some downslide in growth rates.
“It may be due to several reasons, including the unexpected economic slowdown in India’s economic growth, impact of US-China trade war, GSP withdrawal from the US side and retaliatory tariffs on specific US goods from the Indian side,” USISPF said.