Donald Trump has said he is “saving the big deal” with India for later and he “does not know” if it will be done before the presidential election in November, clearly indicating that a major bilateral trade deal during his visit to Delhi next week might not be on the cards.
“We can have a trade deal with India. But I’m really saving the big deal for later,” he told reporters at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday afternoon (local time).
Trump is scheduled to visit India on February 24 and 25.
The US and India could sign a “trade package” during the visit, according to media reports.
Asked whether he expected a trade deal with India before the visit, Trump said, “We’re doing a very big trade deal with India. We’ll have it. I don’t know if it’ll be done before the election, but we’ll have a very big deal with India.”
#WATCH US President Donald Trump in Washington on his visit to India: I happen to like PM Modi a lot. He told me we will have 7 million people between the airport and the event. It's going to be the largest stadium in the world. It's going to be very exciting. pic.twitter.com/FdusHCInJ9— ANI (@ANI) February 19, 2020
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the point-person for trade negotiations with India, is likely not to accompany Trump to India, sources said. However, officials have not ruled it out altogether.
In an apparent dissatisfaction over US-India trade ties, Trump said, “We’re not treated very well by India.” But he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he is looking forward to his visit to India.
“I happen to like Prime Minister Modi a lot,” Trump said.
“He told me we’d have seven million people between the airport and the event. And the stadium, I understand, is sort of semi under construction, but it’s going to be the largest stadium in the world. So it’s going to be very exciting... I hope you all enjoy it,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) in a report said the latest quarterly data depicted continuation of overall positive bilateral trade trends. The third quarter data reflects some downslide in growth rates.
“It may be due to several reasons, including the unexpected economic slowdown in India’s economic growth, impact of US-China trade war, GSP withdrawal from the US side and retaliatory tariffs on specific US goods from the Indian side,” USISPF said.
According to the report, the data available for the first three quarters of 2019 (January-September) pulled the overall growth rate in cumulative bilateral trade down to 4.5 percent from 8.4 percent registered for the first two quarters.