Trade surplus narrowed, US told

Trade surplus narrowed, US told

India has told the US that it bought more American goods in 2017 than in the previous year, leading to reduction in its merchandise trade surplus with Washington.

By: FE Bureau | New Delhi | Published: June 14, 2018 4:20 AM

As President Donald Trump steps up attack against countries for what he calls “unfair trade”, India has told the US that it bought more American goods in 2017 than in the previous year, leading
to reduction in its merchandise trade surplus with Washington.

In his meetings with various stakeholders in the US, commerce, industry and civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu highlighted the “encouraging growth” in US supplies of civilian aircraft and energy products to Indian companies, according to an official statement. India’s rapid economic growth will create significant new markets opportunities in these areas and others, Prabhu stressed.
The minister was on a two-day visit to the US through June 12 during which he met US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, trade representative Robert E Lighthizer and agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue, apart from senators, think-tanks and businessmen.

The two countries decided to soon hold a meeting of senior officials to discuss various issues of common interests, according to the statement.

India’s goods trade surplus with the US dropped almost 6% to $22.9 billion in 2017 from the previous year, according to US official data.

India is one of the few countries with which US’ trade deficit has decreased in the last one year.

While China alone accounted for $375 billion, or 46% of the US goods trade deficit of $810 billion in 2017, India made up for just 2.8% and occupied the 9th spot in the list of nations with which the Trump administration seeks to pursue a trade balance agenda.

Trump has already angered China and upset allies in the G7, signalling escalation of a trade war. He has already imposed high tariffs on steel and aluminium from select countries, including India and China. India has been affected in this process, as Trump has threatened to spare none in his attempts to reduce what he calls massive trade imbalance facing the US.

India wants an exemption from import duty slapped by the US on steel and aluminium; relaxed visa regime for skilled professionals; delinking of a special tariff regime from market access talks and aircraft manufacturing in India by US firms, among others.

For its part, the US wants greater market access to reduce trade imbalance; zero import duty on Harley Davidson bikes and removal of price curbs on stents and other medical equipment.

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