Wilbur Ross, the US secretary of commerce, at the World Economic Forum said that there is no structural reason why there cannot be a trade deal between India and the United States quickly.
“We each know the other’s issues, we have for quite some while, and pre-election there were undoubtedly some constraints on India to deal with those matters. Now that the election has come and gone and Prime Minister Modi has a very clear strong position in the parliament, it should be a lot easier to take decisive action,” Ross said.
On trade deficit, he said: “We do feel our deficit is too high and we intend both to increase, total trade and reduce our trade deficit.”
Deficit due to artificial barriers is of greatest concern, Ross said. “Protectionist barriers that countries have thrown up, that is the one that we are concerned with and that is the one that we are determined to reduce. We think that we will make progress there. We have a very focused effort in terms of trade deficit reduction,” he added.
Relations between India and US are better than ever before, said railways and commerce minister Piyush Goyal at the event. “America is a very powerful economy and it is a very big economy, but also a very sensitive country,” he said.
Goyal added that India has an important geopolitical role to play. “It is the largest democracy in the world and a country which as honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned at the Bloomberg event, a country which offers the four important D’s — demographic dividend, a democracy, a huge demand of a billion people aspiring for a better quality of life, and a decisive leadership. I think all these four elements are important to address the destiny of the world,” Goyal said.
“India is going to be an important player in the world’s growth engine. The trade between US and India is robust. Imports from US to India are growing by nearly 30 percent and exports from India to the US is growing by nearly 20 percent in the last one year,” he added.