India-US closing in on trade deal, says Piyush Goyal

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New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) A trade deal between India and the US is closed to being sealed, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the USIBC India Ideas Summit webinar, he cited some pending matters between the two sides which need to be out of way for reaching the deal.
However, he exuded confidence that agreement would be reached soon.
“In the long run, I believe we have a quick trade deal which has some of the pending matter built up over the last couple of years, which we need to get out of the way quickly. We are almost there. I think another couple of calls and we should be able to sort that out,” he said.
“Post that, as it was already intimated to the US Congress, the United States and India need to sit down at the negotiating table. I don’t know if that can be done before the (US) elections or post the elections, but we need to work towards a much more sustainable, much more robust, much more enduring partnership in the form of a free trade agreement to which India is willing to work with an open mind with a willingness to open our hearts and our markets with a corresponding opportunity for Indian businesses in the US.”
Besides, the minister said the two countries should also look at preferential trade pacts.
“We believe we should also look an early harvest in the form of a preferential trade agreement.
“So that.. rather than waiting for the gains of a free trade agreement which take several years to conclude, we could look at an early harvest of maybe 50, may be 100 products and services, where we can engage with mutual trust and open spirit, so that the partnership between the US and India can kickstart much faster, we can build institutional cooperation between the two nations and increase the interaction between business, industry and our people.”
Presently, India and the US are negotiating on a trade deal. However, the US has scrapped the General Scheme of Preferences that gave concessional terms for some imports from India worth $6.3 billion.

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