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India meets the criteria for trade concessions under the U.S. Generalised System of Preferences, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Thursday, asserting that it was up to U.S. to take a call on reinstating India’s status as a beneficiary of that programme.
His remarks came a day after a bipartisan group of 44 U.S. lawmakers urged the Trump administration to reinstate India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the key GSP trade programme as part of a potential trade deal between the two countries.
The Trump administration terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the GSP on June 5.
The GSP is the largest and oldest U.S. trade preference programme and is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.
Gokhale, at a press conference on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the U.S. from Sept. 21-27, said, “We have seen the letter written by these 40-odd Congressmen. It has always been India’s position that GSP is a unilateral decision given by countries to other countries based on certain criteria.”
“We are a developing country, we meet those criteria. I do not recall our ever stating, we are not interested in GSP. To my recollection, the U.S. unilaterally withdrew that concession from us,” Gokhale said.
“Our position in the matter is clear, we believe that GSP is something which is important for our industry, but ultimately it is a matter for the U.S. to take a call on,” he said.
Asked whether trade and tariff related issues between the two countries could be taken up during Prime Minster Modi’s bilateral meeting with President Trump in the U.S., Gokhale said in their meeting in Osaka, the two leaders discussed several issues, including the trade issue.
“This is one of the issues where we feel forward movement should be taken which is mutually balanced which addresses the concerns of both sides. I have know doubt, it will figure in their discussions. But for the eventual outcome, that is something which we will have to wait for,” Gokhale said.
He said Modi’s U.S. visit will have an important business component with two important interactions with the business community.
Soon after arriving in Houston, Modi will head straight into his first business event — a round table with several chief executives from the energy sector.
Major energy firms such as Air Products, Baker Hughes, BP PLC, Cheniere Energy, Dominion Energy, Emerson Electric Company, Exxonmobil, Schlumberger, Tellurian Inc., and Westlake Chemicals are expected to participate, source said.
On Sept. 25, the prime minister will deliver a keynote address at the plenary of the Bloomberg global business forum.
This will be followed by an investment roundtable that India is organising with 45 major companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mastercard, Visa, Amway, J P Morgan, Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, Walmart, Microsoft, Qualcomm Technology, USIBC, Amazon Retail, Ford Automobile, GE Aviation, GE Company, Google and Hewlett Packard Enterprise likely to participate.
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