India and the US have had series of talks for a possible trade deal to resolve issues related to bilateral commerce, said the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Suresh Prabhu.
“The negotiations are ongoing,” he said. “Of course, at this stage they have given an offer and we have also given a counter-offer and we are working on it,” the Minister added.
The statement assumes significance as India has deferred a notification for hiking import duties on as many as 29 US products.
India had earlier announced that it was in the process of hiking Customs duty on 29 products, including pulses and iron and steel items imported from the US as a retaliatory action against the tariff hike by Washington. The duty hike would come into force from November 2.
India has been pressing for exemption from the high duty imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic goods under their Generalised System of Preferences as well as greater market access for its products from sectors, including agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.
As many as 3,500 Indian products from sectors such as chemicals and engineering get duty-free access to the US market under the system introduced in 1976. On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access for its agriculture goods, manufacturing products and medical devices.
India’s exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion, while imports accounted for $26.7 billion.