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  India   All India  29 Jun 2019  PM Modi, Donald Trump agree to trade talks

PM Modi, Donald Trump agree to trade talks

Published : Jun 29, 2019, 6:39 am IST
Updated : Jun 29, 2019, 6:39 am IST

Indian, US commerce ministers will meet and sort out disagreements.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe share a fist bump during their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. (Photo: AP)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe share a fist bump during their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. (Photo: AP)

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump decided at their bilateral meeting at Osaka, Japan, on Friday that the trade ministers of both countries would meet and sort out the trade disputes that have arisen between the two countries. Interestingly, President Trump had said ahead of the meeting that there would be some “very good things (in due course) to announce a very big trade deal, some very big things with India in terms of trade and manufacturing”.

A day after US President Donald Trump put out an aggressive tweet referring to India enhancing tariffs on 29 US goods recently and saying it was “unacceptable and must be withdrawn”, Mr Modi made it clear to the US President at the bilateral meeting — aimed at “clearing the air” between the two sides — that India had indeed “taken some action” but pointed out that it was after the US had ended India’s $5.6 billion trade concessions under the key Generalised System of Preference (GSP) programme.

Mr Modi said that was something that “had already happened” and that “now we should look forward and see how we should resolve some of these issues”.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said, “There was a discussion on trade. Both sides had their concerns. Both sides spoke about interests of the other side. What was agreed was that the trade ministers of both countries would meet at an early date and would try and sort out these issues.”

Mr Gokhale added, “It was a very productive and open discussion, and we will take things forward… The idea was to clear the air and then to set the agenda for discussions in resolving trade matters. Both leaders have directed officials to move forward.”

The meeting on Friday was Mr Modi’s first with Mr Trump after the BJP’s landslide win in the parliamentary election.

Mr Modi, who is in Osaka to attend the G-20 Summit, thanked President Trump for expressing his “love towards India” in a letter delivered by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo this week.

The Prime Minister said that India stands committed to further deepen economic and cultural relations with the US and the two leaders discussed Iran, 5G, bilateral relations and defence ties on the sidelines of the summit.

“The talks with @POTUS were wide ranging. We discussed ways to leverage the power of technology, improve defence and security ties as well as issues relating to trade,” Mr Modi tweeted after the meeting.

While raising Iran, New Delhi said India had “reduced” oil imports from Iran (following the position taken by the US and threat of sanctions). India said it was “concerned” over peace and stability in the region and wanted consistent energy supplies from other sources at affordable prices. India’s S-400 missile deal (with Russia) did not come up during the discussions.

President Trump in his remarks before the meeting said he and PM Modi “had become great friends” and that the two countries “have never been closer”.

Mr Gokhale said that during the discussion on Iran, “PM (Modi) also recalled that we have deployed some of the Indian navy ships in the region, to protect Indian vessels passing through Gulf and Straits of Hormuz. This was appreciated very much by President Trump. The President expressed his hope that oil prices would remain stable, and (outlined) what the US was doing to maintain stability in the Gulf. Both sides agreed that we would remain in touch on Iran.”

On the talks over the 5G technology between the two leaders, Mr Gokhale said the PM said it is important that India and the US collaborate (while pointing out) India’s capacity in technology development, start-up and design, the Silicon valley and its role in developing 5G technology for mutual benefit. Mr Gokhale added, “The President welcomed this idea. He spoke about the work that US companies are doing on 5G. He specifically referred to Silicon valley and said that he focused on this area.”

A trilateral Japan-America-India (JAI) meeting also took place between PM Modi, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and Mr Trump. Mr Gokhale said, “(It was a) short but very productive meeting. The main topic of discussion was Indo-Pacific,... connectivity, infrastructure, how peace and security can be maintained.”


Tags: narendra modi, donald trump, g-20 summit
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi