New Delhi: India and the United States will have a trade deal very soon, President Donald Trump said at a media interaction following a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday.
Both leaders met for the second time in less than three days on Tuesday.
“We are doing very well ... I think very soon we will have a trade deal. We'll have the larger deal down the road a little bit, but we will have a trade deal very soon,” Trump said when asked if there is a possibility of a deal being signed between both nations, adding such an agreement will boost economic ties between the two nations.
Modi, who met Trump at the UN headquarters in New York, was accompanied by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, and other officials. The two countries are negotiating a trade package to iron out issues and promote two-way commerce.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a part of the US delegation.
“I am thankful to Trump that he came to Houston. He is my friend but he is also a good friend of India,” said Modi.
Trump on Sunday had addressed the “Howdy, Modi!” event in Houston in Texas, which was attended by more than 50,000 members of the Indian diaspora and top US lawmakers.
The bilateral meeting came in the backdrop of choppy trade ties between the countries after Trump’s administration in June terminated India's designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme. The GSP is the largest and oldest US trade preference programme and is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.
The US in June had ended duty-free access for about $5.7 billion worth of Indian exports under the GSP, including chemicals, plastics, leather and rubber goods, and auto parts. India was the largest beneficiary of the GSP, which dates from the 1970s and is designed to help developing countries. India responded with higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds, apples and walnuts.
India is the largest buyer of US almonds, paying $543 million for more than half of US almond exports in 2018, according to the US Department of Agriculture. It is the second largest buyer of US apples.
A bipartisan group of 44 influential lawmakers had also urged the Trump administration to reinstate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade programme as part of the potential trade deal.
Issues of Pakistan and Kashmir
Trump after the meeting said it will be great if Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan can "work out something" on Jammu and Kashmir, distancing himself from any mediation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
"I really believe that Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Khan will get along when they get to know each other. I think a lot of good things will come from that meeting... It will be great if they can work out something on Kashmir," Trump said in response to a volley of questions.
Modi presented to Trump a framed photograph from the mega 'Howdy Modi' event in Houston.
Memories from Houston, where history was made! PM @narendramodi presented a framed photograph from the #HowdyModi event to @POTUS @realDonaldTrump. President Trump thanked PM Modi for this gesture. pic.twitter.com/jP3QjpU4uW— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 24, 2019
The photo shows both the leaders standing on the stage with thousands of Indian-Americans in the background. Trump thanked Modi for this gesture.
(With inputs from agencies)