It is learnt that India also did not commit to any changes in foreign investment rules for e-commerce firms like Amazon and Walmart (Flipkart).
New Delhi: With both India and United States sticking to their protectionist attitude, the trade talks between India and United States largely remained inconclusive as neither sides listed any major outcomes from the bilateral talks. However, they indicated that they need to sit again to talk on the several contentious issues, which included the their disputes over tariffs etc.
The two sides were negotiating on reducing friction on e-commerce, data localisation and trade tariff during the high level trade talks between India and US that began with informal talks in New Delhi on Thursday. On Friday, both sides sat for formal discussions to find ways on the contentious issues but neither side said much in their press statements despite over three hours of negations, clearly indicating there was no break through.
“The meeting was cordial and aimed at providing a new impetus to bilateral trade and commercial ties, in line with the mandate given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President Donald Trump during their meeting at Osaka, Japan on June 28, 2019. Both sides discussed the broad contours of bilateral trade and commercial ties and agreed to continue their discussions for achieving mutually beneficial outcomes aimed at further growing the economic relationship and addressing mutual trade concerns,” ministry of commerce said in a press statement.
While the Indian side had on Thursday said they were approaching the talks with a mindset of “problem solving,” it seems that the protectionist approach by both sides prevented any results. Particularly on the issue of trade tariff and e-commerce, it is learnt that the US side sought a rollback of higher Indian tariffs imposed on agricultural products like almonds etc. It is learnt that India also did not commit to any changes in foreign investment rules for e-commerce firms like Amazon and Walmart (Flipkart).
The US has for last several meetings expressed its unhappiness over new rules on e-commerce to protect Indian retail trade which has impacted American e-commerce groups like Amazon and Walmart (Flipkart) and after RBI made it compulsory for Mastercard and Visa to set up local servers for Indian data. Besides, the Americans have also been constantly raising issues of higher tariffs on several of its products.
India had on Thursday said that its approach is to engage constructively and positively with the US and the two sides are looking at resolving several issues, including that of tariff related. “Our approach is to engage with them very constructively, in a very positive manner,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday, while the two sides met for informal talks to break the logjam.
“I think it is important to keep in mind when we engage on this issue that the trajectory of the relationship remains positive, we have to keep in mind the bigger picture and within that big picture try to address all the issues which are on the table,” he had added.
A delegation led by assistant United States Trade Representative (AUSTR) Christopher Wilson was in India from July 11-12 to explore potential for enhanced bilateral trade and economic engagement with India under the new government. The Indian delegation was led by Sanjay Chadha, additional secretary, department of commerce, which also included senior officials from other Government of India ministries. AUSTR also called on the commerce secretary and commerce and industry minister during the visit.