Pompeo to ‘kickstart’ ‘credible’ process to resolve trade issues on India visit
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo hopes to “kickstart” a “credible” and “candid” process to resolve the growing trade difference with India during his upcoming visit as one of the key subjects of discussion along with cooperation on security, energy and space, a senior administration official said Friday.Updated: Jun 22, 2019 07:30 IST
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo hopes to “kickstart” a “credible” and “candid” process to resolve the growing trade difference with India during his upcoming visit as one of the key subjects of discussion along with cooperation on security, energy and space, a senior administration official said Friday.
During his discussions on trade the secretary will hope to “jumpstart” a discussion to “move quickly to resolve what has been very long-standing differences and irritants in the bilateral relationship”, the official said, adding, “this is not something that is going to be solved in one meeting, but being able to kickstart a serious process, a credible process and a candid process is going to be critical”
Given the “importance” President Donald Trump attaches to “fair and reciprocal trade”, the official said, “we need to get a conversation started quickly”.
Pompeo’s visit comes amidst mounting trade differences between the two countries with with recent escalations being India announcing retaliatory tariffs on imports from the United States and the United States ending duty-free imports from India under the Generalized System of Preferences programme.
The secretary of state is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart S Jaishankar, who the official described as “one of the visionaries behind the expansion US-India strategic ties”, and business leaders. He will also deliver remarks at a public event.
The objective of Secretary Pompeo’s visit is to “accelerate the upward trajectory of the relationship and set some ambitious goals”, the official said.
While discussions will include shared objectives in a free and open Indo-Pacific region, ongoing security ties and energy ties and space, trade could take up a larger share of the talks. The officials acknowledged “disagreements” which will be addressed as democracies do, through honest discussions. The list of these differences is long and has been growing.
US companies have concerns about over market access and lack of a level playing field in important sectors — dairy products and medical devices, for instance — and recent measures increasing tariff on a range of products and restricting e-commerce operations and free flow of data and “particularly problematic”, the official said, and added, “I’m certain the Secretary will convey during his visit the extraordinary potential to realize the collective strength of our economies if there’s a fair and reciprocal approach to the trade relationship.”
Asked for an update on S-400 discussions, the official said, “We’re urging all of our allies and partners, India included, to forego transactions with Russia that risk triggering the CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Acts) sanctions. And this administration has taken great steps to enhance our military interoperability with India, to finalize groundbreaking enabling agreements that allow us to do more together militarily, and has also taken steps to enhance the quality and quantity of our defense technology relations.” The official pointed to the approval of the sale of armed Sea Guardian drones to India, “the first non-treaty partner to be offered that high technology”.