India is open to greater market access for American farm and dairy products and lower duties on Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles as it seeks to conclude a trade deal with the U.S.in time for President Donald Trump’s scheduled visit next week, a Bloomberg report says.
Trump in the past has resented India’s high import tariff on the iconic Harley Davidson motorcycles that used to be slapped with 100 percent duty but has been brought down to 50 percent, but it is still considered “unacceptable” by President Trump.
According to a Feb. 18 Bloomberg report quoting people with “knowledge of the matter,” New Delhi has also yielded ground on the issue by agreeing to cut import duties for Harley-Davidson motorcycles by creating a separate tariff classification for them. It has also indicated its willingness to relent on domestically sensitive issues like price caps on medical devices and market access to U.S. dairy products.
It said India is willing to allow market access for U.S.-produced cranberries, blueberries, pecan nuts and avocados at lower duties. Also, on the cards is allowing some imports of dried distilled grains soluble, a by-product of ethanol production used in animal feed and alfalfa hay, a plant used for fodder, the report said quoting people who did not want to be identified because of rules.
However, the report noted that even as talks are on between the two nations to have some sort of a deal on the table ahead of Trump’s state visit on Feb. 24-25, “there is no clarity yet on when a final agreement will be ready,” the people with knowledge about the matter told Bloomberg, adding that work was still underway on the finer details in order to resolve long-pending issues on both sides.
Washington though is yet to blink on several issues which are of interest to India, including exemptions from high steel and aluminum tariffs, the report said quoting people.
The report said so far, Washington has indicated easing rules to provide greater market access for Indian grapes, mangoes and pomegranate arils along with slashing import duty for these items.
The restoration of an exception that had allowed India duty-free exports of about 2,000 products until last year, is also on the cards. “This tops India’s agenda because of its competitiveness with low-cost rivals,’ it noted.
Meanwhile, news reports said Trump will reportedly meet business leaders from India Inc, on February 25, during his two-day trip to India. The list of invitees includes Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran, Mahindra Group head Anand Mahindra, Larsen and Toubro chairman A M Naik and Biocon MD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.
According to Inc42.com, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and US-India business bodies have suggested the names of the leaders who should be meeting the Trump on his visit. It said quoting reports that the US Embassy in India has sent the list of attendees to the White House for approval.
It is looking to organize a roundtable meeting of CEOs, which will also include senior bureaucrats from the governments of both countries as well as top executives from US corporations, the Feb 17 Inc42.com report said.