Don't see any major difficulty in resolving trade disputes with US: Jaishankar

Tensions on the trade front between the two countries had emerged in June after Donald Trump revoked preferential trade privileges.

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday that he does not see any "insuperable obstacle" in resolving trade disputes with the United States given the strong relationship between the two countries and opined that the trade numbers between the two nations are much more favourable than what these are made to be.

Speaking at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum at the second Annual India Leadership Summit here, Jaishankar said: "I am not a trade negotiator but I do not see anything out there which is such an insuperable obstacle, or something we cannot crack. I think it is a question of putting in the effort, having the creativity, having the desire actually to sort it out. I think we have all that. I am pretty confident that that will happen."

"In terms of our relationship, I am very confident that the relationship today is extremely strong," he said while adding that there will be issues with the US as the country today has made trade issues much more central to its foreign policy.

"It (the US) believes ... I think the phrase used was that economic security is national security. And economic security is largely defined in terms of trade numbers. We can debate those trade numbers. I am not even sure that those numbers we regularly use actually capture what is the real trade (is) between us."

"A lot of our digital trade numbers are not captured in those numbers at all. We can actually, first of all, have a first principle issue: what are the real trade numbers between India and the US and I would suggest that it is much more favourable than people make it out to be."

Tensions on the trade front between the two countries had emerged in June after US President Donald Trump revoked preferential trade privileges, in response to which India imposed tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds and apples.
India was the biggest beneficiary of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), a programme designed to help developing countries sell to US consumers.

Jaishankar said that a lot of the concerns expressed in the world about the US are alliance related problems. "India has always had an independent relationship with the US. So it doesn't have those problems."

Speaking on the Kashmir issue, the minister said that the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution was India's internal business but the neighbours made a fuzz about it.

"Article 370 was our business. We prioritised engaging governments of different countries to explain why we did this. Neighbours made a fuss about it," added Jaishankar.

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