Ahead of his maiden visit to India as US President, Donald Trump has said he is "saving the big deal" with India for later and does not know if it will be signed before the presidential election in November. Trump's statement indicates that a bilateral trade pact may not materialise during his visit to New Delhi next week.
Trump has previously described India as a "tariff king" for imposing "tremendously high" tariffs on American products, and also expressed dissatisfaction over the US-India trade ties.
Sources told CNBC-TV18 that United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a lead negotiator, was supposed to come to India last week but the visit got cancelled. Now it is emerging that he may not even accompany the US President during his visit to India but a final call on that will be taken closer to the visit.
High tariffs charged by India on superbikes manufactured by the Milwaukee-based Harley Davidson have been flagged multiple times by President Trump. During the recent parleys, India was willing to recalibrate those tariffs.
However, on some issues, India has put its foot down. For instance, India has told US negotiators that it can’t give market access to US dairy products. India’s sensitivities on US dairy products arise from the fact that the cattle feed used by the sector is infused with animal extracts.
Another issue that US negotiators added to the list of demands is related to data. The US is insisting on free flow of data generated in e-commerce portals, apps and financial transactions like credit card and debit card swipes. India has told the US that the current government is deliberating on the regulatory framework related to both personal and non-personal data.