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Opinion

I look forward to having serious discussions on trade issues with the Biden administration: Jaishankar

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There was quite a serious negotiation between India and the Trump administration to resolve pending trade issues, as well as to close a trade deal, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday as he hoped to have talks on the matter with Biden’s dispensation.

The foreign minister said the focus of the talks was to address “differences” before moving on to “something bigger.”

Speaking in an interactive session at the annual general meeting of the industry body FICCI, Jaishankar said that the US economy was largely “complementary” and that there was “no fundamental clash of interests” between the two parties, although there are some areas of overlap.

“There was quite a serious negotiation between our government and the Trump administration to resolve the pending trade issues. I think the general thinking on both sides was ‘let’s deal with the differences before we think of something bigger,’ “he said.

The foreign minister said there had been many discussions about the proposed deal.

“For a variety of reasons, they didn’t close it. I can tell you, on our side, we are serious. We wanted to deal with those issues because we thought there was something much bigger that was in store for the relationship. But it did not happen. And often when it comes to trade discussions (they are) like trade discussions between two governments, ”he said.

In such discussions, the devil is in the details, he said, adding: “If you don’t close a deal, it’s not a deal.” “We made a serious and focused persevering effort, it was not achieved this year. I think that in a very basic way, the United States is a complementary economy, ”he said.

The foreign minister further said: “I certainly hope we will have serious discussions once the (Biden) administration comes in. I know our minister is very focused on that, and it is something that is rightly high on his agenda. “.

Last year, the Trump administration ended the designation of India as a beneficiary of the key GSP trade program because it has failed to provide the United States with fair and reasonable access to its markets.

The export of certain products to the US was previously allowed in the duty-free category under a special trade scheme called the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The United States has been seeking greater access to India’s huge poultry and dairy markets. However, India has some reservations about this.

When asked about the outcome of the US presidential election, Jaishankar suggested that ties between the two countries will continue to expand.

“If I were to summarize what I learned from the Biden administration that took office, I would say that in the face of the world, aside from security issues and political influence issues, a big question for them is how do they keep America competitive. And the other big question is actually how do they tackle the challenge of climate change, “he said.

Jaishankar said the relationship between Indo and the United States is now on a “different level” and that security and defense cooperation will remain key aspects of it.

“When it comes to economic issues, especially competitiveness, I think India can make a big difference. Because we are actually doing much more today on global issues and challenges than we have done before, even on something like climate change, if you look at it, ”he added.

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