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India not negotiating comprehensive FTA with US currently: Piyush Goyal

India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), greater market access for its products from sectors including agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 07, 2020, 05.43 PM IST
Piyush Goyal (File Pic)
NEW DELHI: Commerce and industry Piyush Goyal on Friday informed Parliament that presently India is not negotiating a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.

“No, Sir. Presently, India is not negotiating a comprehensive FTA with the US,” Goyal said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Both the countries are negotiating a trade deal which is likely to be signed during US President Donald Trump’s visit to India later this month.

Trade officials from the American administration are likely to visit India to finalise talks on the proposed trade deal ahead of Trump’s visit.

While India has sought restoration of export benefits to certain domestic products under the US’ Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and greater market access for its products from sectors including agriculture, the US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices, and cut on import duties on some ICT products. The US has also raised concerns over high trade deficit with India.

In 2018-19, India's exports to the US were $52.4 billion, while imports were $ 35.5 billion. Trade deficit dipped from $21.3 billion in 2017-18 to $16.9 billion in FY19.

Replying to a separate question, Goyal said India has challenged a ruling of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) dispute settlement panel, which held that certain provisions of the domestic export incentive initiatives are inconsistent with global trade norms.

However, due to lack of quorum in the Appellate Body of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, “there is no progress in this case”.

India remains committed to resolving the crisis in the Appellate Body in close consultation with like-minded WTO members, however, the outcome of “our efforts” to resolve the crisis in the body cannot be anticipated at this stage, he said.

Malaysia import

In a separate reply, Goyal said that at present, there is no proposal to impose a restriction on import of any item from Malaysia.

“At present, crude Palm Oil is freely importable while refined Palm Oil/Palmolein/Other have been put under ‘Restricted’ category for imports since January 8, 2020…The restriction is applicable for imports from all countries,” he said.

Replying to a separate question, the minister said India needs 25 million tonne of edible oils to meet its requirement at the current consumption level of 19 kg per person per year.

China antidumping

Goyal also informed the Upper House that currently, anti-dumping measures are in force on 90 products imported from China, including two pharmaceutical products and 24 anti-dumping investigations are presently in progress against the alleged dumping of imports from that country.

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