G20 summit: GSP, trade tariffs 'already happened', time to move on, PM Modi tells Trump

The trade relations between two countries had come under stress after India hiked tariffs on certain items after US revoked the GSP mechanism earlier granted to India.

Published: 28th June 2019 03:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2019 03:13 PM   |  A+A-

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit (Photo | AP)


OSAKA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President Donald Trump held crucial round of bilateral talks here on the sidelines of G20 Summit here and decided that the trade ministers of both countries would meet at an early date to resolve the differences.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi "did mention in particular" that the Indian government had taken some actions after the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) was revoked.

But Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale later told reporters that Prime Minister made it clear - "that was now something that already had happened and now we should now look forward and we should see how we can resolve some of these issues".

"There was a discussion on trade, both sides aired their concerns, both sides spoke about the interest of the other side and 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 said.

The Foreign Secretary further said "President Trump, of course, welcomed this idea" and went onto add - ".... what we expect now an early meeting and the level is still be decided whether it will be at the level of Commerce and Industry Minister and USTR or we will first have technical discussions, that is an issue to be decided but essentially it was a very productive discussion".

Mr Gokhale insisted that "it was very open discussion and we will take things forward".

The trade relations between two countries had come under stress after India hiked tariffs on certain items after US revoked the GSP mechanism earlier granted to India.

ALSO READ | India-Russia S-400 missile deal did not figure in Modi-Trump talks 

On the issue of 5G, there was a brief discussion, "essentially on the technical and business opportunities that this new area provides" for cooperation between India and the United States.

"The Prime Minister outlined that we are going to be a billion users of this technology and in that sense India is the second largest market in the world.

The way India moves or the way whatever choices India makes will essentially determine the way the global trend will go," Mr Gokhale said.

President Trump welcomed this idea, he spoke about the work that American companies are now doing in 5G, he specifically referred to Silicon Valley and said that since he had taken over as the President of United States he has focused on this area, on developing America's capabilities in technology, Mr Gokhale said.

The Prime Minister also focused on Make in India and the potential that this huge technology has in that goal or objective.

On the eve of Modi-Trump talks President Trump on Thursday had tweeted to say: "I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further.

This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn".

Mr Gokhale, however, said both Mr Modi and President Trump held detailed and "very open meeting and very warm discussions" on the sidelines of G20 Summit.

Both the leaders and also Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also met separately under the JAI -Japan, America and India - framework and discussed at length on various global and regional issues including the Indo Pacific region.

On the interaction on Iran front, Mr Gokhale said President Trump and PM Modi "agreed that they and their (Indian and US) officials will continuously remain in touch so that the region remains stable".

"... and I think that is in our interest, it is in the interest of the United States and the interest of the region," the Foreign Secretary said.

The contentious India-Russia defence deal on S-400 defence system did not figure at the talks even as in the past the US in the past has warned that New Delhi's deal to procure the lethal missile system from Moscow will have "serious implications".

ALSO READ | Modi meets South Korean President, discusses ways to enhance trade ties

"S-400 issue was not discussed...there was an issue of time constraints," Foreign Secretary said.

However, he asserted categorically, - "No one issue is going to impact the larger strategic relation between India and the United States".

But he said, the issue of India's defence deal with Russia was addressed by External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar at a joint press conference with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Delhi on June 26.

"So that's where it stands ... no discussion took place (on S-400)," Mr Gokhale made it clear. On Iran, Mr Gokhale said the "primary focus was on how we ensure stability in that region".

"Instability affects us in many ways. Not just in terms of our energy needs. ...but also in terms of our large diaspora in Gulf, eight million Indians in the Gulf," he said.

Foreign Secretary underlined that India's relationship with the United States is very deep.

".... We have some issues, we will work through them," he maintained adding emphatically no one issue is going to in any way have 'any impact' in ties between the two nations.


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