Munchin:20/10/19:Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that negotiations between India and the US on a trade deal are going in full speed. She also expressed hope that an agreement will be structured soon. The ongoing trade deal negotiations briefly came up for discussion during a pull-aside between Mrs Sitharaman and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the IMF headquarters. Mnuchin is scheduled to visit India early next month.
India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). India also wants to greater market access for its products from sectors, including agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.
On the other hand, the US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices, and cut on import duties on some ICT products. The US has also raised concerns over high trade deficit with India.
In 2018-19, India’s exports to the US stood at 52.4 billion US Dollars, while imports were 35.5 billion US Dollars. Trade deficit dipped from 21.3 billion US Dollars in 2017-18 to 16.9 billion US Dollars in 2018-19.
Responding to a question, Mrs Sitharaman said a totalisation agreement with the US has always been on the cards.
Totalisation agreement seeks to eliminate dual taxation with regards to social security and medicare taxes in the United States.