Trade negotiations between India, US going in full swing: Sitharaman
Washington D.C: The trade negotiations between India and the United States are going in full swing, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said, expressing hope that the two sides will reach a trade deal soon.
Responding to a question by ANI on where the trade negotiations between the two countries stand, Sitharaman said, “That is something on which Robert Lighthizer, the US Trade Representative, and Wilbur Ross, US Commerce Secretary, are working on. My inputs are that (the) negotiations are going in full speed and there’s a great intensity with which both the sides are engaging.
“Hopefully, the deal will be struck soon,” she said on Saturday.
Tensions on the trade front between the two countries had emerged in June after US President Donald Trump revoked preferential trade privileges, in response to which India imposed tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds and apples.
India had been the biggest beneficiary of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), a programme designed to help developing countries sell to US consumers.
The Finance Minister stated that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to visit India soon. “I expect to have a lot more detailed discussion with him then,” she said.
The Finance Minister’s remarks came following her address at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.
Sitharaman said that she will prepare a blueprint for the businesses contemplating to move out of China are considering India as their preferential investment destination.
“India is one of the biggest options to consider for investors. Vietnam is getting saturated. They do not have enough manpower to address expansionary programs of investment There is saturation,” she said.
“Businesses getting out of China are certainly looking at India. It’s now important for the government to meet up with them,” she added. “I will design a blueprint and approach them, put forward to them why India is a more preferable destination.” That could also be in specific areas in which India has common capacity ecosystem building, whether it’s electronics, lithium-ion battery or any other semiconductors and so on, she added.
The Finance Minister said that the government’s decision regarding the same is not just going to be purely on the basis of what is happening presently between the United States and China.
“That could either aggravate the situation or probably just influence at some level. But the fact remains that there are companies which are looking at relocating for various other reasons also,” she said.
“That is why I gave that little fine line that I’m drawing about companies which would want to locate elsewhere outside of China. Even as I said that, I said that not every company wants to lock, stock and barrel get out of China, there are companies which will remain there to service the Chinese market.
“After all, China has a very big domestic market. Their purchasing power and consumption style may be very different from what it is in India. But I’m making that margin already. Companies will probably be there to service the Chinese market, tension or no tension,” the Union minister said referring to the tensions between US and China.
The minister emphasised that the government wants to create an ecosystem to invite these companies.
Sitharaman said that the global economic slowdown and the estimates for growth next year are largely dependent on India and China’s growth estimates.
“I’m saying this with a sense of responsibility that the global economic slowdown and the estimates about the growth for the next year are largely pegging on India and China’s growth estimates. On their performance depends the rest of the global growth also,” she said.
“The slowdown, while it is affecting the rest of the world in a particular fashion, at least in India and China, the slowdown is not so bad. In fact, when you talk about next year, the impact of India’s growth is much better than even that is shown (in the IMF ‘s World Economic Outlook report) of China’s,” she added.