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WASH­ING­TON/NEW DELHI: In­dia and the United States have agreed to hold official talks soon to ad­dress the trade and eco­nomic ir­ri­tants be­tween both na­tions, Com­merce Min­is­ter Suresh Prabhu said.

This de­ci­sion was taken dur­ing a se­ries of meet­ings Prabhu had with US Com­merce Sec­re­tary Wil­bur Ross and US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive (USTR) Robert Lighthizer in Wash­ing­ton dur­ing the Indian Min­is­ter’s visit from June 10 to 12.

“We will now work to­gether to ex­pand bi­lat­eral trade,” Prabhu told re­porters in Wash­ing­ton.

He said In­dia would send an official team to work out the de­tails and start com­pre­hen­sive ne­go­ti­a­tions on all is­sues con­cern­ing the bi­lat­eral trade and eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship.

“The team will come within the next few days,” he said. 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. China re­tal­i­ated in April im­pos­ing tar­iffs as high as 25 per cent on 128 Amer­i­can prod­ucts.

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.

Ac­cord­ing to an Indian Com­merce Min­istry re­lease, Prabhu also met US Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Sonny Per­due and also had a joint meet­ing with In­dia Cau­cus Co-chairs Se­na­tor Mark Robert Warner and Se­na­tor John Cornyn.

Dur­ing his visit, Prabhu 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.

“Ev­ery great part­ner­ship has ar­eas of agree­ment and dis­agree­ment. I am hope­ful that the US in­vest­ment cor­ri­dor is only go­ing to grow, and I’m con­fi­dent that we will be able to bridge our gaps,” he said at the USISPF event.

In his in­ter­ac­tion with in­dus­try lead­ers at an event or­gan­ised by the USISPF, Prabhu spoke about the im­prove­ments that have been made in the trade re­la­tion­ship, in­clud­ing trade deficit re­duc­tion.

The 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.

Ear­lier this week, at a press con­fer­ence dur­ing the G7 Sum­mit in Que­bec, the US Pres­i­dent ac­cused In­dia of levy­ing 100 per cent tar­iff on some Amer­i­can prod­ucts.

Trump also threat­ened he would limit mar­ket ac­cess to the US and even cut off trade ties if Amer­ica’s trad­ing part­ners did not co­op­er­ate.

Mean­while In­dia and China de­cided to set a trade tar­get of $100 bil­lion and Bei­jing showed its readi­ness to open its mar­ket to Indian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal as well as agri­cul­ture prod­ucts.

In­dia and China made some fairly big an­nounce­ments, in­clud­ing Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s visit to In­dia, as he and Indian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi met on the side­lines of Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion (SCO) Sum­mit. The two lead­ers, who met a sec­ond time in just over a month af­ter their in­for­mal sum­mit in Wuhan, had a “sub­stan­tive” meet­ing in which they took stock of the de­vel­op­ments in the Sino-indian ties af­ter their ice-break­ing meet­ing in late April.

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