After Two Years of Intense Negotiations, India-US Closing On Trade Deal

India and the US are closing in on a trade deal after nearly two years of intense negotiations. A trade deal between India and the US has been in the making since 2018 and after two years both countries seem to have agreed on a final deal.

Speaking at the virtual U.S.-India Business Council’s India Ideas Summit, Piyush Goyal, India’s Commerce Minister said that pending matters built up in the last couple of years between New Delhi and Washington need to be moved aside quickly.

India is seeking concessions for generic drugs it exports to the United States in return for opening its dairy markets and slashing tariffs on farm goods as the two sides seek to clinch a new trade accord, three sources told Reuters.

They have been negotiating a limited trade pact aimed also at restoring zero tariffs on a range of Indian exports to the United States under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), from which the Trump administration withdrew last year, citing lack of reciprocal access to Indian markets.

Goyal also said that until a free trade agreement is established, India and the US should look at a preferential trade deal agreement.

“We believe we should also look at an early harvest in the form of a preferential trade agreement rather than waiting for the gains of a free trade agreement, which can take several years to conclude,” he said.

Negotiations between New Delhi and Washington had initially hit a speed bump because of the COVID pandemic. The US remains India’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade touching $88.75 billion in the 2019-2020 financial year.