NEW DELHI: The US Trade Representatives (USTR), who will be visiting India on Friday, are likely to stick to issues on the local storage of data, and easing of rules for e-commerce companies.“With India’s election period now over, the USTR officials will be visiting India as a relationship-building exercise with their Indian counterparts,” said a USTR spokesperson. The USTR delegation led by Christopher Wilson, Assistant USTR for South and Central Asia, is scheduled to meet Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on the day. They are also likely to meet officials at the Information Technology Ministry.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of trade tensions between India and the US, with the latter ending preferential trade tariff quota for Indian exporters and India retaliating by raising tariffs on 28 American products including almonds and walnuts. The US has also flagged regulatory issues like local storage of data on multiple platforms in the recent past. During his visit here, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had raised issues related to data localisation, which he said escalates the cost of doing business for US firms.
While the US is already pushing against India’s efforts to mandate foreign firms to store more of their data locally, the Indian side is reluctant to do it. “Data storage had been a sticking point in the last few talks. There is still room for re-negotiations,” a senior commerce ministry official told TMS.
American President Donald Trump has been putting pressure on India to do more to open its markets; he took to Twitter again this week to say the high tariffs imposed by India were “unacceptable”.Trade between the two countries was pegged at USD 142.1 billion in 2018, with India having a surplus of USD 24.2 billion.