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Monday, Dec 09, 2019

‘Hope to have a deal soon’: Nirmala Sitharaman says trade differences with US narrowing

Sitharaman, who is in Washington to attend the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, was responding to a question on the status of the India-US trade deal currently been negotiated between the two countries.

india Updated: Oct 18, 2019 07:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman interacts with global investors at the headquarters of International Monetary Fund, in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman interacts with global investors at the headquarters of International Monetary Fund, in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019.(PTI)
         

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she was hoping India and the US will be able to enter into a trade deal soon as there has been narrowing of trade differences between the two countries.

“I hope to have an agreement sooner. Obviously narrowing (of difference) is happening,” Sitharaman told a group of Indian reporters.

The US Department of Commerce said the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during his recent trip to New Delhi stressed on the positive trends of the US-India trade relationship.

Wilbur Ross, the US Commerce Secretary, held out hope of a trade deal between the two countries while stating neither country had said a trade deal will be signed in “5 minutes”.

Speaking at the India Economic Summit organised by the World Economic Forum, Ross had said, “Pre-election, there was undoubtedly some constraints on India to deal with certain matters. Now that the election has come and gone and Prime Minister Modi has a very clear strong position in Parliament, it should be a lot easier to take decisive action.”

Sitharaman, who is in Washington to attend the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, said, the commerce ministry is working on it (trade deal) and hope that the negotiations will get concluded sooner.

“I know the intensity with which the negotiations are going on and a few issues on which they could be some differences are being sorted out. I hope they will be an agreement sooner,” she said.

Nirmala Sitharaman also said that India remains among the fastest growing economies despite IMF projections.

“The IMF (in its latest projections) reduces the growth (rate) for all the global economies. It reduces the growth for India too. But even otherwise, even with that India is still growing as the fastest growing economy,” she said.

The IMF on Tuesday slashed India’s growth projection for the country to 6.1% for the current fiscal from its July forecast of 7%.. This is second downward revision in seven months and in total 120 basis points reduction. 100 basis points is equal to one percentage point.