Context was balance of trade; efforts made to address concerns: MEA on Trump's 'no deal' remarks

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also asserted that there is no ban on travel to or from China in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

Published: 20th February 2020 05:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2020 10:56 PM   |  A+A-

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar (File Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI:  India on Thursday sought to downplay American President Donald Trump's remarks that New Delhi is not treating the US "very well" on the trade front, insisting that it was important to understand the context in which he made the comments.

As hopes for sealing the much-anticipated trade deal during Trump's visit to India next week faded away, India said it does not want to create "artificial deadlines".

On Trump's remarks that the US was not treated very well by India, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the context for the comments was the balance of trade and that New Delhi was trying to address Washington's concerns.

"It is important to understand the context under which these remarks were made. Please understand that the US is India's largest trading partner in goods and services. Also do keep in mind that there has been a consistent growth in trade between the two countries over the last few years," Kumar said at a media briefing.

"I think the context was in terms of the balance of trade and in that context the remarks were made. You are also aware that in the last few years efforts have been made by India to address this particular concern," he added.

Kumar said the US is India's sixth-largest source of crude oil imports and that it is purchasing a large number of civilian aircraft.

"We do feel that some of these steps bridge the trade deficit that exists at this point in time."

On the proposed trade deal, Kumar said India hoped to reach an understanding with an outcome that strikes the right balance for both sides.

"We do not want to rush into a deal as the issues involved are complicated with many decisions potentially having real impact on people's lives and long-term economic consequences. We do not want to create artificial deadlines," he said.

The MEA spokesperson said the India-US relationship is progressing from strength to strength and that trade has already been growing at more than 10 per cent per annum for the past two years.

"Our trade deficit has been declining steadily. Our trade will become even more balanced with increasing imports of US oil and gas, and purchase of large numbers of civil aircraft by India over the next few years," Kumar said.

"The US is now our sixth largest source of crude oil imports, while we have become the US's fourth largest customer of crude oil," he added.

The US remains the top trading partner for India in terms of trade in goods and services, followed by China.

While the bilateral trade between US and India is approximately 62 per cent in goods and 38 per cent in services, the bilateral trade between India and China is dominated by goods.

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