"US Least Protectionist, India High-Tariff Nation": Official

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asked India to remove the overly restrictive market access barriers for American companies.

'US Least Protectionist, India High-Tariff Nation': Official

"Moving towards a more open economy is very important," US Commerce Secretary Wibur Ross said.


Describing India as a "high-tariff market", US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday urged the government to execute reforms that will open up the Indian economy and market.

In unusually blunt remarks, Mr Ross asked India to remove the overly restrictive market access barriers for American companies.

"As President Donald Trump has said, we look forward to working with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his administration, to address mutual trading opportunities and investment potentials," Mr Ross said in his key note address to the India Ideas Summit of US Indian Business Council in Washington.

Mr Ross said he is planning a trip to India to discuss and address some of the key issues challenging the India and US trade ties.

The US Commerce Secretary was in India just before the Lok Sabha elections during which he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top Indian government officials.

The Trump administration has been addressing a more balanced and reciprocal trade relationship, not only with India but also with its other trading partners across the world.

Mr Ross said that US is the "least protectionist" major country, but India has "one of the highest levels of tariffs in the world, adding that protectionist practices also hurt the countries themselves.

He expressed hope that since PM Modi has been voted back to power with a stronger mandate, he would be able to carry out necessary reforms and take India towards "a more open economy".

"The mindset of moving towards a more open economy" is very important, he said, adding that both the US and India would benefit from this change.

For the development of a viable commercial relationships, US companies need more predictability, more transparency or more consistency of regulations, Mr Ross said as he spoke of Trump administration's decision to withdraw the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for India.