US Senator Cornyn drops hint about possible trade pact announcement
Houston, United States, Sep 22 : US Senator John Cornyn on Sunday dropped hint about possible trade pact announcement between India and the US during the unprecedented 'Howdy Modi' rally.
' I won't be surprised if there is some announcement by President Trump today, hopefully we'll be able to sort out trade difference,' US Senator for Texas, John Cornyn said here.
However, he said he was not in the know of things on what specific subjects both sides were discussing.
The remarks have special significance as during last one month or so Indian and US officials have been engaged in intense parleys to resolve the trade disputes between world's largest democracy and world's most powerful democracy.
Sources said while the Modi government and Union Commerce Ministry want market access for grapes and some other farm products to export to the United States; in return may give in with lower tariffs on high-end American electronic products.
India has been the largest beneficiary of the US government's special concession regime GSP, which was enforce since 1970s but the Trump administration earlier this year ended duty-free access for about USD 5.7 billion worth of Indian exports. These included chemicals, plastics, leather and rubber goods, and auto parts. India also responded with higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds, apples and walnuts.
India is the second largest importer of US apples and the top buyer of US almonds, paying USD 543 million for more than half of US almond exports in 2018.
The talks have been also focused on US keenness for reduction in agricultural tariffs by India including those for almonds, pork, dairy products, cherries and apples.
The US team led by Trade Representative Robert also wants the Modi government to remove high pricing barriers on imported medical devices including cardiac stents.
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said in Delhi this week that "sharper edges" in trade relations between India and the US will be addressed in the "not too distant future".
For his part, President Trump wants better terms of trade from most of the top commercial partners of the United States including India.(UNI)