- US President Trump said that US will soon sign a trade deal with India
- US President and PM Modi announced "significant progress" on many issues
- PM Modi met Donald Trump on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that his country will soon sign a trade deal with India as he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York where the two sides announced "significant progress" on a number of outstanding issues.
"I think very soon. We are doing very well. (US Trade Representative) Robert Lighthizer who is right here negotiating with India... I think, very soon we will have a trade deal," Mr Trump told reporters when asked if there is any trade deal is expected between India and the US.
"We will have a larger deal down the road ... but we will have a trade deal very soon," Mr Trump added.
However, no timeline was given by either side.
PM Modi met Donald Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session for a bilateral meeting.
The two countries are negotiating a trade package to iron out trade issues. The US has been pressuring India to lower duties on its products and address the trade deficit.
Speaking at the press conference, PM Modi said: "As far as trade is concerned, I am very happy that in Houston, in my presence there was an agreement signed by Indian company Petronet for $2.5 billion, which is the amount of investment the Indian company is going to do in the energy sector and this will mean that in the years to come, this will result in trade of an amount of $60 billion and create 50,000 jobs which I think is a big initiative taken by India."
The Petronet deal, the largest by an Indian company in US natural gas, came after PM Modi had a meeting with the CEOs of top US-based oil companies on Saturday last week.
At a news briefing after the meeting of the two leaders, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that there was no discussion on timeline, but "we are optimistic that we will be able to conclude an understanding or an agreement fairly soon".
When asked about the details, the secretary said India is expecting it to be a "fair and reasonable" deal and "we have laid out our requirements in that regard, so has the US side".
India's Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal reached New York over the weekend to attend the meeting.
India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, restoration of export benefits to certain domestic products under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), greater market access for its products from sectors like agriculture, automobiles and engineering.
The US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices. The US has also raised concerns over high trade deficit with India.
India's exports to the US stood at $52.4 billion, while imports were $35.5 billion in 2018-19. Trade deficit dipped from $21.3 billion in 2017-18 to $16.9 billion in 2018-19.
(With inputs from PTI)
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