Washington: U.S. president Donald Trump on Tuesday has sown doubts about a trade deal with India when he visits New Delhi next week.
He told reporters he is "saving the big deal" with India for later and he "does not know" if it will be done before the presidential election in November.
Trump is scheduled to visit India on February 24 and 25. His words to reporters at the Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday are likely to send New Delhi into a bit of a swoon.
"We can have a trade deal with India. But I'm really saving the big deal for later," Trump said.
Asked whether he expects a trade deal with India before the visit, Trump said, "We're doing a very big trade deal with India. We'll have it. I don't know if it'll be done before the election, but we'll have a very big deal with India."
Another indicator that will temper the mood in New Delhi is that US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, the point-person for trade negotiations with India, is likely to not accompany Trump to India, sources said. However, officials did not rule it out altogether.
Trump blew hot and cold in his remarks to the media. About the trade deal, he said "we're not treated very well by India" and then added, "I happen to like Prime Minister Modi a lot."
And he added, "He told me we'll have seven million people between the airport and the event. And the stadium, I understand, is sort of semi under construction, but it's going to be the largest stadium in the world. So it's going to be very exciting."
The US exported USD 45.3 billion worth of goods and services to India in the first three quarters of 2019, up 4 percent from the corresponding period in the previous year; and the US imported USD 65.6 billion worth of goods and services from India, up five percent from the previous year's USD 62.5 billion level for the same period.
The US remains the top trading partner for India in terms of trade in goods and services, followed by China. While bilateral trade between US and India is approximately 62 percent in goods and 38 percent in services, bilateral trade between India and China is dominated by goods.
US goods exports to India were mainly concentrated in mineral fuels, precious stones, and aircraft. The US faces tough competition with China in the Indian market in areas such as electronics, machinery, organic chemicals and medical devices....