U.S. – India Closing In On Trade Agreement


India and the United States are currently in negotiations on a trade package. Reuters says Washington and New Delhi are looking to remove some long-standing disagreements between the two countries that would strengthen ties.

Initial reports say it looks like Indian farmers and U.S. medical device manufacturers could be some of the early winners in the deal. The two countries have been going back-and-forth on steel tariffs, as well as duties on agricultural products. The two sides began talks in June.

India is unhappy with U.S. steel tariffs and the U.S. has problems with a tariff on imported IT equipment. A source with knowledge of the negotiations tells Reuters, “We are closely negotiating a discreet package of trade issues and it will amount to a pretty substantive agreement.” The source says both sides expect the negotiations to wrap up within a few weeks.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently said India came to the United States to “start doing a trade deal.” However, he didn’t provide a lot of specifics about the potential agreement.

India tariffs on pulse crops have hit producers in Montana and North Dakota especially hard. Over the last several years, India has been the top export market for North American pulse crops. However, last winter India imposed steep tariffs on peas, lentils and chickpeas steering away practically all American sellers and creating uncertainty in the market.

Prices for pulse crops have fallen hard from where they were a year ago. Prices for peas are down about 20 percent, while chickpeas and lentils are down more than 50 percent. No word yet on if the trade package currently being discussed would eliminate the tariffs on U.S. pulses.

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