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India and US move closer to securing a trade deal

22 July 2020

The United States and India will soon finalise a trade deal after two years of negotiations.

Reuters reports that India’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal announced the progress on 21 July.

India is hoping to secure concessions for generic pharmaceutical exports to the US in return for increased access to American dairy markets. Both sides seek reduced tariffs on farm goods in order to close the deal.

Three sources told Reuters that they have been negotiating a limited trade pact aimed at restoring zero tariffs on a range of Indian exports to the United States under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), from which the Trump administration withdrew last year, citing lack of reciprocal access to Indian markets.

"In the long term, I believe we have a quick trade deal which has some of the pending matters built up over the last couple of years, which we need to get out of the way quickly. We are almost there," Goyal said at the US-India Business Council’s India Ideas Summit, being conducted virtually.

Goyal further said New Delhi and Washington should look at a preferential trade pact with 50 to 100 products and services before moving to a free trade pact.

"We believe we should also look at an early harvest in the form of a preferential trade agreement rather than waiting for the gains of a free trade agreement, which can take several years to conclude," he said.

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