Washington: After the re-election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister for the second term, India is in a better position to take decisive actions, United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said on Thursday.
“In terms of the overall situation, now I think the Indian government is in a better position to take decisive actions. And since Prime Minister Modi is wedded to improve the economy, I think he will take some necessary steps, including reforms, that constraints restrictive business and labour laws,” said Ross while addressing the second US-India Strategic Partnership Forum.
The remarks came as a delegation of USTR (United States Trade Representative) is already in New Delhi to mediate talks over the trade dispute between the two countries.
This would be the first engagement between the two sides on trade issues after the meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with Trump in Osaka at the sidelines of the G20 Summit last month.
The trade talks between the two countries slowed down after Washington rolled back the privileges that New Delhi was enjoying under their GSP or Generalised System of Preferences programme since June 5.
The GSP, implemented since 1974, is the largest and oldest US trade-preference scheme and it allows duty-free imports for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.
“The USTR had put India on notice that they were considering changing the GSP category because the negotiations had not produced the results that the USTR had wanted. But I promised the Indian government, when I was there during my visit to New Delhi before the elections, that the Department will not impose the change until after the elections because we didn’t want to be a factor in the elections,” Ross said.
On its part, India had imposed retaliatory tariffs on 25 American goods, less than two weeks after the Trump administration announced an end to the preferential trade treatment for India.
On the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific vision, Ross noted that India is an important component of the strategy and a lot of commercial dialogue is also underway between the two countries.
The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is committed to creating the most powerful strategic partnership between the U.S. and India.
“Promoting bilateral trade is an important part of our work, but our mission reaches far beyond this. It is about business and government coming together in new ways to create meaningful opportunities that have the power to change the lives of citizens,” the statement said.
“We are entering a new era based on a strategic partnership between the US and India – one where we will work closely together with business and government leaders to achieve our goals of driving economic growth, job creation, innovation, inclusion, and entrepreneurship,” it added.