Pompeo to pitch for lower trade barriers during talks with Modi, Jaishankar

Washington [US]: US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will put forward the US’ demand for reducing trade barriers imposed by India during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

During the visit, “He (Pompeo) will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to discuss our ambitious shared agenda for the U.S.-India strategic partnership. There is enormous potential to grow our trade relationship and create the high-quality jobs that Prime Minister Modi wants if India lowers trade barriers and embraces fair and reciprocal trade,” said an official statement.

Pompeo visit comes days after India imposed retaliatory tariffs on 25 American goods, less than two weeks after US President Donald Trump announced an end to preferential trade treatment for India over the trade barriers. Last year, India had announced tariffs in retaliation to higher US import duties on steel and aluminium.

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Pompeo reached New Delhi later on Tuesday for his three-day visit ahead of Modi and Trump meet in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of G-20 Summit.

“A big welcome to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It’s great to have you and your team in India. We look forward to excellent meetings to advance the U.S.-India strategic partnership,” tweeted US Ambassador to India Ken Juster.
Diplomatic sources in India has also confirmed that issue pertaining to trade is likely to come up during the meeting.

Expressing optimism earlier this month, Pompeo picked up BJP election slogan ‘Modi hai to mumkin hai’ to express hope and to exude confidence in improving Indo-US strategic ties. Trump and Modi Administrations have a “unique opportunity” to make it happen, he asserted.

Pompeo is expected to raise other issues like data localisation and market access during the talks.

Iran issue might come up during the talks as after the US sanctions on Iran oil, Indian oil companies are also facing a tough time and many have reportedly stopped importing oil from Iran.

Diplomatic sources had said there is no structured agenda and New Delhi is expected to urge for de-escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran. They said there could be a discussion on the situation in the Persian Gulf region, which has a big Indian diaspora.


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