CII lauds Prabhu’s US visit to sort trade issues

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New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) Noting that US trade officials are expected to visit India soon in an attempt to address the trade and economic irritants between the two countries, industry chamber CII on Sunday lauded Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu’s visit to the US for setting “a roadmap to resolve bilateral trade issues expeditiously”.

India and the US have agreed to hold official talks soon to address the bilateral trade issues in a decision that was taken during a series of meetings Prabhu had with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer in Washington during the Indian Minister’s visit from June 10 to 12.

“The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) understands that officials of USTR may travel to India very soon. CII hopes the trade package to be negotiated would include the renewal of Generalized System of Preferences benefits for India which accounts for nearly $6 billion of Indian exports to the US,” CII said in a release.

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“During the (Prabhu) visit, it was stressed that India’s recent purchases of US-made civilian aircraft and procurement of petroleum and LNG from the US have helped balance India-US trade. Bilateral trade has increased by more than 15 per cent to $74.5 billion in 2017-18,” it added.

In March, US President Donald Trump slapped import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, unfolding the prospect of an all-out global trade war as China retaliated to this and a subsequent US tariff imposition.

India has sought an exemption from the US tariffs along the lines the US has allowed to the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea.

Prabhu had earlier said that India would bilaterally take up the issue of recent trade protectionism measures with the US.

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During his visit, he also addressed business and industry leaders in meetings organised by the US-India Business Council (USIBC) and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and met other stakeholders.

“It’s a great time to join hands with each other and that is the realisation within the (US) administration as well. As you know, we always hear about trade disputes between the US and India, but when I had a meeting with the USTR, the Commerce Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, Senators, it is very clear that we must move on, keeping the issues behind,” Prabhu told industry leaders at a reception hosted by USIBC.

His industry meetings included senior officials from major American companies such as Boston Scientific, FedEx, Walmart, Abbott, UTC, Honeywell, PhRMA, MoneyGram, Lockheed Martin, Koch Industries, Amway, Uber and 21st Century Fox.

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–IANS

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