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US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says India's trade policies are restrictive

US had notified in March that India did not qualify for the Generalized System of Preferences benefits under their updated eligibility criteria.

May 07, 2019 / 02:50 PM IST

United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on May 7 said US is India's largest export market but India's trade policies were restrictive.

"There is an imbalance in Indo-US trade. I would like to rephrase 'Make America great again' with 'Make America great with Indian cooperation'," Ross said at the summit.

India is set to become the world's largest consumer market by 2030 because of the growth of its middle class and the Indo Pacific region would be significant both strategically and economically, Ross said.

India and the US have been engaged in a simmering trade conflict after the US trade representative's (USTR's) office notified the US Congress and New Delhi in March that Indian exports did not qualify for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) - a preferential trade scheme - benefits under their updated eligibility criteria.

On May 2, India for an for an unprecedented seventh time postponed the proposed higher tariffs on high-value goods from Washington, putting at stake tariff-free access to the US markets.

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"We reiterate a deep commitment to Indo-US relationship. US is an important trade partner for India," Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said at the same event.

Prabhu said that India discussed how to take this relationship to a level with the US commerce secretary, where both sides could benefit immensely.

"It's a time when we need to find out how global economy expands and other countries benefit from it. We want US to be a partner when Indian economy grows to $10 trln. US companies should also benefit from growth of Indian economy. India's growth story is entrepreneurship driven," Prabhu said.

On May 6, during the meeting between Ross and Prabhu, issues like India's draft e-commerce policy, data localisation, high import duties imposed by America on steel and aluminium were discussed.

The other matters which were discussed between the leaders include the US concerns on medical devices, personal data protection bill of India, RBI's public credit registry, data localisation for payment companies, visa issue, airport ground handling operations by US Airlines, IPR and airline passenger safety system/data.
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