India Has Opportunity to Benefit from US-China Trade War, Says Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
Wilbur Ross earlier said US does not believe that India is eligible for grant of a special trade privilege but is renegotiating its terms after revoking the status earlier this year.
Union minister Piyush Goyal with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. (Twitter/@piyushgoyal)
New Delhi: US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has said India has the opportunity to take advantage of the trade tension between the US and China, adding that the two sides were looking to “quickly” sign a deal.
“India has a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of trade dissension elsewhere. In our one-on-one meeting with [Union minister Piyush] Goyal, we prepared a chart about the areas where China is a big exporter to us compared to what India is exporting to us, the possible solutions, and how we change that mixture,” Ross was quoted as saying by the Business Standard at the session titled ‘Trading Against the Tide’ at the World Economic Forum.
Earlier, speaking on the sidelines of the event, Ross said the United States does not believe that India is eligible for the grant of a special trade privilege but is renegotiating its terms after revoking the status earlier this year.
Citing lack of reciprocal market access, the United States stripped India from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme that allowed duty-free entry for up to $5.6 billion worth of its annual exports to America.
New Delhi responded with higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds, apples and walnuts.
"If we can solve GSP, that's a very good step towards free trade," Ross told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit in New Delhi. "We are hopeful that those gaps can be closed and we can get a more favourable trade arrangement with India ... GSP (reinstatement) could be called a limited trade deal."
The two countries have been locked in trade disputes for months, with the United States concerned about Indian policies that mandate foreign firms to store more data locally, restrict the way US e-commerce giants operate in the country and impose price caps on medical devices.
In February, India's new investment rules for the e-commerce sector jolted Amazon.com Inc and Walmart's Flipkart as the companies were forced to change their business structures to continue to operate in the country.
Ross said the new rules had made expansion in the country slower for both the US e-commerce giants. "All that we are looking for is to level the playing field. India is ... certainly one of the most protectionist," Ross said.
Speaking about a trade deal between the countries, Ross said on Thursday: “Neither government said that there would be a trade deal in five minutes. I think that was just speculation. We do think there is no structural reason why there can’t be one pretty quickly.”
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