‘Make in India’ campaign makes discussion on trade difficult, says senior US Administration official

Washington DC [USA], Feb 22 (ANI): India’s protectionist policy has remained a concern for the United States with respect to the trade deal between the two countries, a senior US administration official said on Friday, adding that the “Make in India” campaign makes the discussion on trade “more difficult”.

“The protectionism policy has been a concern for us. We have had a number of announcements coming from India which are making the discussions more difficult perhaps,” the official told the reporters here. “The recent one being the ‘Make in India’ announcement, (which) has made the protectionism concern even greater. There has been an increase and not a decrease of concerns and this would certainly come up among the leaders,” the official added.

The statement has come ahead of US President Donald Trump’s two-day visit to India from February 24.

Tensions on the trade front between the two countries had emerged in June, last year, after Trump revoked preferential trade privileges, in response to which India imposed tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds and apples. Despite several meetings held over the past 18 months in Washington DC, New Delhi, and New York, trade negotiators of the two countries are yet to finalise on a deal. The senior official further said that digital trade and e-commerce are part of the many concerns that the US has with India.

“We have seen India’s budget process, it (India) recently raised tariffs on products of interest to the US,” the official said. Earlier, the US President had said that New Delhi has been hitting Washington “hard with tariffs for many year”, but expressing his likeness for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he added that “great new trade deals will likely be done.”

Continuing his complaints about India’s ‘unfair treatment’ on trade policies with the United States, the President while addressing a rally in Colorado, said, “Great new trade deals will likely be done. I am going to India next week. They have been hitting us hard for many many years but I really like Prime Minister Modi. We’ll talk a little business. They give us tariffs one of the highest in the world. But I hear they gonna have 10 million people showing up along one of the largest stadiums in the world.”

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, while answering a question on India-US trade deal during the weekly press briefing here on Thursday said India has been engaging with the US for quite some time, hopes to reach an understanding with an outcome that strikes the right balance for both sides.

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