indica News Bureau-
India and US have finalized the trade deal and US President Donald Trump has expressed a desire to visit India to sign the deal. Trump is planning to visit India later this month, possibly after the Republic Day celebrations. This will be his first visit to India.
Trump expressed his desire to visit India during a New Year’s telephone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the plans were finalized last week. Trump, who is facing an impeachment trial in the US parliament, might also visit Modi’s home state Gujarat for a few hours, The Print reported.
The US president might also add Pakistan and Afghanistan to his itinerary, making it a larger visit to South Asia.
According to a report by Indian Express, the deal may lead to India agreeing to cut duties on more than 40 US product categories ranging from apples, almonds, up-end mobiles, smart-watches and electronic gadgets, in return for the US allowing Indian manufacturers duty-free trade facilities withdrawn last year.
Preparations for the visit seem to have already begun in full force, as security drills have been taking place in two of the hotels where heads of states and their teams would stay.
While going ahead with the deal, India will maintain that while it is open to import of US dairy products, but will stipulate that they have to conform to restrictions over them not being fed animal food matter.
Apparently, animal feed used in the US dairy industry has high-protein blood meal from cattle and bovines.
India has pointed out that cultural and religious sensitivities will preclude imports from dairy animals fed with such meals. India’s dairy and poultry industry had lobbied hard against opening up these sectors to unrestricted imports.
Although discussions on the FTA had been going on for over a year, the final modalities, such as how much market access will be given to which American goods, began only last year when PM Modi visited the US in September.
Commerce ministry officials said that in time, India will work for a comprehensive economic agreement with the US, but that will take a lot of negotiations. The Indo-US trade deal fleshed out right now can be called the first phase of it, they said.
Trump’s visit got finalized during the recent trip to India by Alice Wells, the US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. Wells was in India from 15-18 January.