U.S.-China trade war likely to dominate Narendra Modi-Donald Trump talks
By The Hindu 25-Aug-2019
While the impact of the growing U.S.-China trade war will be centrestage, New Delhi is also closely watching a special meeting at the G7 on how to reform the World Trade Organisation (WTO), where U.S. trade officials have indicated Mr. Trump could bring a proposal to stop India and China from availing special rights as developing countries.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi’s primary mission is to put trade talks between India and the U.S., that stalled in November 2018, back on track. Despite an agreement by the two leaders to restart the talks when they last met in June, top trade representatives of the two countries haven’t scheduled a meeting yet.
During a 30-minute telephone conversation with Mr. Trump on August 19, Mr. Modi had “expressed the hope” that Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would “meet at an early date”.
While Mr. Goyal is expected to travel to Washington early next month, a Ministry official said that no date has been set as yet. A meeting of officials from the USTR office and the Ministries of Commerce and External Affairs last month, that sought to unpack some of the issues including increased tariffs, WTO disputes, new Indian legislation on e-commerce and data localisation, proved inconclusive.
According to trade lobby U.S. India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) President Mukesh Aghi, the main reason for the prolonged delay in the trade representatives meeting is the growing U.S.-China tensions over trade.
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