India US Talks

India’s Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu at Industry Roundtable organized by the U.S.-India Business Council during his visit to Washington, D.C. (Suresh Prabhu Twitter photo)

WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI — India and the United States have agreed to hold official talks soon to address the trade and economic irritants between the two nations, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said June 12.

This decision was made during a series of meetings Prabhu held with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington during the Indian minister's June 10-12 visit.

"We will now work together to expand bilateral trade," Prabhu told reporters in Washington.

He said India would send an official team to work out the details and start comprehensive negotiations on all issues concerning bilateral trade and the economic relationship between the two countries.

"The team will come within the next few days," he said.

In March, President Donald Trump slapped import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, unfolding the prospect of an all-out global trade war. China retaliated in April imposing tariffs as high as 25 percent on 128 American products.

India has sought an exemption from the U.S. tariffs along the lines of the exemption the U.S. granted to the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea.

Prabhu had earlier said that India would bilaterally take up the issue of recent trade protectionism measures with the U.S.

According to an Indian Commerce Ministry release, Prabhu also met U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and also held a joint meeting with India Caucus co-chairs Senator Mark Robert Warner and Senator John Cornyn.

During his visit, Prabhu also addressed business and industry leaders in meetings organized by the U.S.-India Business Council and U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, and met other stakeholders.

"It's a great time to join hands with each other and that is the realization within the administration as well. As you know, we always hear about trade disputes between the U.S. and India, but when I had a meeting with the USTR, the commerce secretary, agriculture secretary, senators, it is very clear that we must move on, keeping the issues behind," Prabhu told industry leaders at a reception hosted by USIBC.

"Every great partnership has areas of agreement and disagreement. I am hopeful that the U.S. investment corridor is only going to grow, and I'm confident that we will be able to bridge our gaps," he said at the USISPF event.

In his interaction with industry leaders at an event organized by the USISPF, Prabhu spoke about the improvements that have been made in the trade relationship, including trade deficit reduction.

The industry meetings included senior officials from major American companies such as Boston Scientific, FedEx, Walmart, Abbott, UTC, Honeywell, PhRMA, MoneyGram, Lockheed Martin, Koch Industries, Amway, Uber and 21st Century Fox.

Earlier this week, at a press conference during the G7 Summit in Quebec, the U.S. president accused India of levying 100 percent tariff on certain American products.

Trump also threatened he would limit market access to the U.S. and even cut off trade ties if America's trading partners did not cooperate.

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