New Delhi: With India and the United States sticking to their protectionist attitude, the trade talks on Friday largely remained inconclusive as neither side listed any major outcome from the bilateral talks. They indicated that they need to sit again to talk on the several contentious issues which included their dispute over tariff.
The two sides were negotiating to reduce friction on e-commerce, data localisation and trade tariff during the high-level dialogue on trade that began with informal talks in New Delhi on Thursday.
On Friday, both sides sat for formal discussions to find ways on the contentious issues but neither side said much in their press statements despite three hours of negotiations. While India had on Thursday said they were approaching the talks with a mindset of “problem solving”, it seems that the protectionist approach by both sides prevented any results.
“The meeting was cordial and aimed at providing a new impetus to bilateral trade and commercial ties, in line with the mandate given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump during their meeting at Osaka, Japan on June 28, 2019. Both sides discussed the broad contours of bilateral trade and commercial ties and agreed to continue their discussions for achieving mutually beneficial outcomes aimed at further growing the economic relationship and addressing mutual trade concerns,” the ministry of commerce said in a press statement.
It is learnt that the US side sought a rollback of higher Indian tariffs imposed on agricultural products like almonds. It is learnt that India also did not commit to any changes in foreign investment rules for e-commerce firms like Amazon and Walmart (Flipkart).
The US has during the last several meetings expressed its unhappiness over new rules on e-commerce to protect Indian retail trade which has impacted America e-commerce groups) and after RBI made it compulsory for Mastercard and Visa to set up local servers for Indian data.
Besides, the Americans have also been constantly raising issues of higher tariffs on several of its products.
India had on Thursday said that its approach is to engage constructively and positively with the US and the two sides are looking at resolving several issues including that of tariff related. “Our approach is to engage with them very constructively, in a very positive manner,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday while the two sides met for informal talks to break the logjam.
“I think it is important to keep in mind when we engage on this issue that the trajectory of the relationship remains positive, we have to keep in mind the bigger picture and within that big picture try to address all the issues which are on the table,” he had added.
This came two days after President Trump Donald hit out at India saying its tariff is no longer acceptable to the US, high-level trade delegation of India and US began talks in New Delhi.
The delegation led by assistant United States trade representative Christopher Wilson is in India to explore potential for enhanced bilateral trade and economic engagement under the new government. The Indian delegation was led by Mr Sanjay Chadha, additional secretary, department of commerce, included senior officials from other ministries....