WASHINGTON: Negotiations for better trade deals between the US and India that meet the needs of both the countries are at the beginning stages, a senior White House official said Monday.
"I know that a number of administration officials just recently came back from India. They expressed their willingness to negotiate new and better trade deals, and those conversations are at the beginning stages," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
India and the United States last week held their maiden 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi.
Primarily being a strategic dialogue, trade-related issues were also discussed, according to the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Well.
The conversation between the leadership of the two countries was how can they grow their trade relationship in a fair and reciprocal manner, she told reporters during a separate conference call.
Tariffs and non-tariff barriers, she said, have been the subject of long-standing concern. But we're working with the government of India to address these market access challenge issues, she said.
"We have a variety of ongoing high-level discussions that are taking up these issues. Specifically, what I heard out of the two plus two is a commitment by our leadership to the importance of resolving this and coming out as a fair agreement that meets the needs of both the US and India, the private sector as well as people," Wells said.
Meanwhile, the former foreign secretary S Jaishankar, who is now part of the Tata Group, met Congressman Pete to discuss ways to strengthen a relationship with India.
Specifically, we discussed how our two countries can partner together to advance our commercial and strategic partnership, strengthen the bonds that unite our two countries, and create economic opportunity for American workers in the United States, Sessions said.
"Currently, India is our 9th largest trading partner but it is my hope that our bilateral trade continues to grow," he said.