Even as Indo-US bilateral trade grew to $142.1 billion in 2018, the US has been hammering at its trade deficit—$24.2 billion in India’s favour. It wants India to reduce duties on a range of products, including medical equipment, vehicles, toys and even cherries. In May, the US withdrew preferential duty concessions to India under the Generalized System of Preferences, adversely impacting 12 per cent of Indian exports to the US. In retaliation, India imposed higher tariffs on 29 American products exported to India.
The Trump administration plans to make H1 B work visas both harder to get and costlier for Indians. The US has also withdrawn its policy of automatic work permits for the spouses of those awaiting Green Cards—a policy the Obama administration implemented in 2013. These changes have caused deep concern among the millions of workers who are currently in the US, and also among those aspiring to go there.