Despite India being an important partner for the United States geopolitically, a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) is unlikely to be reached soon regardless of who wins the upcoming US presidential election.
That’s according to Todd Buchholz, who served as the director of economic policy at the White House under President George H.W. Bush.
He said as cited by the Economic Times that both US President Donald Trump and his opponent Joe Biden look at India amenably but have their own compulsions not to proceed with such a far-reaching deal.
“I find it difficult to imagine that in four years’ time, there could be FTA between the US and India,” Buchholz said.
The former adviser added that while Trump traveled to India in February and has a great relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he would be wary of going ahead with a deal as it could irk American farmers and also because of the wage differentials.
During his visit to India, the US president seemed optimistic about the future of what he called the “biggest ever made trade deals” and the economic ties between the countries in general. He said a deal will be signed by the end of year, despite his Indian counterpart being “a very tough negotiator.”
Trump has been pushing New Delhi to lower tariffs on American products in order to boost their exports and decrease the US-India trade deficit. Tensions arose last year when the US removed India from its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a mechanism that granted key trade privileges for certain Indian goods. New Delhi raised a number of tariffs on dozens of American goods in response.
Earlier this month, Indian Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said that New Delhi has given a “very good and balanced offer” to the US.
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