Bilateral trade between the US and India reached some $87.95 billion in 2018-19, making Washington New Delhi’s new top economic partner, despite President Trump’s increased pressure to negotiate a better deal for his country.
The US has surpassed China in terms of bilateral trade with India last year, according to the commerce ministry data, and the trend only increased in April-December 2019 despite the trade disagreements between New Delhi and Washington.
India had a trade surplus of $16.85 billion with the US in 2018-19 financial year (with total trade standing at $87.95bn, compared to $87.07bn with China) – which ironically is one of the top complaints of President Donald Trump who is aggressively seeking ways to reduce America’s trade deficit.
Trade tensions between Washington and New Delhi reached new heights last year after the US pulled India from its “Generalized System of Preferences” (GSP), a mechanism that grants tariff exemptions to certain favored allies. While the decision was meant to encourage India to drop levies on US goods, it backfired, resulting in a number of retaliatory tariffs on dozens of American products.
Ahead of his trip to India, Trump said that he happens “to like Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi a lot,” but reiterated the United States was “not treated very well by India” in terms of his vision of fair trade. Indians, likewise, are increasingly annoyed by the US leader’s economic policies and pressure.
With ongoing disputes and Trump himself admitting he is “saving the big deal for later,” possibly even until after the 2020 US elections, the chances of even a symbolic pact being signed on his much-anticipated two-day trip to India seem increasingly bleak.
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