India, US in talks to finalise mini trade agreement

India and the United States are in talks to resolve long-drawn trade disputes and both New Delhi and Washington hope to find an early solution, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

A high-level team of officials from the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office is in India to discuss outstanding trade issues to try and conclude the on-going talks aimed at a mini trade deal.
“Discussions have been going on between the two sides,” Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s foreign ministry, said in a news conference.”We remain optimistic that a solution will be found very soon,” Kumar said.
The two countries have been locked in trade disputes for months, over what Indian officials said, disproportionate demands made by Washington compared to what it was willing to offer.
The US has been vocal in its disappointment over the high trade deficit it has with India, despite steps being taken by New Delhi and the two countries have been slapping higher tariffs on each other’s products.
A resolution of bilateral trade issues has been hanging fire over some sticking issues related to market access for certain items for the US and restrictions on pricing for medical equipment.
The US wants India to lower import duties on items such as mobile phones, high-end motorbikes like Harley Davidsons, apples, almonds and dairy items and also lower pricing restrictions for medical equipment manufacturers.
New Delhi wants Washington to restore Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits for India’s exporters that was withdrawn earlier this year and roll-back unilateral import duties imposed on aluminium and steel last year. 
It is also hopeful of getting increased market access for certain agricultural goods, including fruits and vegetables.
The US is one of India’s largest trading partners and bilateral trade is projected to grow to $238 billion by 2025 from about $90 billion at present, according to the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum estimates.
India is optimistic that a solution will be found soon to the complex issues being discussed as part of the mini-trade package with the US, says the ministry of external affairs,