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Natural gas imports, aircraft buys will help reduce trade deficit with US, says Suresh Prabhu.


Date: 14-06-2018
Subject: Natural gas imports, aircraft buys will help reduce trade deficit with US, says Suresh Prabhu
Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu has said that India’s purchases of commercial aircraft and gas from the US will help bridge the trade deficit between the two countries. In 2017-18, India had a $21 billion trade surplus with the US. 
In his interaction with business leaders during his just-concluded visit to the US, the minister noted the encouraging growth in trade volumes through purchases of US-made civilian aircraft by Indian companies and enhanced cooperation in the area of energy, including procurement of petroleum and LNG by India from the US. 

He also pointed out that India’s rapid economic growth will create significant new market opportunities in these and other areas and added that these purchases have already led to a reduction in the bilateral trade deficit in 2017. 

“Future sales will sustain this trend and create a balanced trade relationship between the two countries,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. 

His statement assumes significance in the wake of US president Donald Trump accusing India of levying 100% tariff on some American products and threatened to even cut off trade ties if America's trading partners did not cooperate. The two countries have been embroiled in a host of trade spats with the US has imposed additional import duties on steel and aluminium from India, delayed the extension of the generalised system of preferences offering duty-free/low duty market access to many Indian products and initiated a dispute targeting New Delhi’s export promotion schemes. 

On specific goods, Washington has demanded zero duty on Indian imports of Harley Davidson motorbikes, sought market access for American poultry and dairy products besides asked for a reduction of Indian price caps on medical devices like stents and knee implants.
 
Prabhu visited the US between June 10-12 June where he met US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross and secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue. He also had a joint meeting with the India Caucus Co-chairs Senator Mark Robert Warner and Senator John Cornyn. 

“In this context, it was agreed that Indian and US officials would meet at a senior level at an early date to discuss various issues of interest to both sides and carry forward the discussions in a positive, constructive and result-oriented manner,” the ministry said.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com    

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