Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump held a bilateral meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, September 24. Speaking about negotiations over a trade deal with India, President Trump said, “We are doing very well, and I think very soon we will have a trade deal. We’ll have a larger deal down the road in a little bit but we will have a trade deal very soon.”
The meeting comes just two days after both the global leaders shared the stage at the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ mega-event in Houston, Texas. The two leaders discussed a variety of issues between India and the US. Amid worldwide trade tensions, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Monday night (EST), in a press briefing said the two leaders are expected to discuss trade. While answering a question about trade, Kumar said:
"Look, I will take you back to the meeting between the Prime Minister and President Trump. They had a talk that differences in trade has to be addressed quickly. Discussions are taking place. At this stage, it would be premature to say anything. But let us wait."
In his statement as well, PM Modi had spoken about trade with the US, saying, “The 'Howdy, Modi!' event was an occasion of great pride. And for this, once again, let me thank President Trump from the bottom of my heart. After the formation of the new government, we haven't even completed two months. But even during this period of time, I had the occasion to meet President Trump three times now and we have held very detailed and fruitful discussions on many issues. This kind of nearness builds a relationship of ease and this continues engagement. I think the countries coming together which have belief in democratic values, is a very good sign for the world. For India and the US, not only are we close friends but this is a friendship that is based on values. This will continue to strengthen in the times to come."
PM Modi assured that as far as trade is concerned, a lot of investments and jobs will be generated following an agreement which was signed by Petronet for large sum, reportedly invested in the energy sector. His statement confirmed that the Indian company will invest $2.5 billion in the State's energy sector, which will mean that in the years to come, it is likely to result in the trade of $60 billion and create 50,000 jobs, 'which I think is a very big initiative taken by India', the Prime Minister added. He further elucidated that President Trump is his friend, but also a friend of India. 'Relations between India and the US are proceeding at a very fast pace. Once again, let me thank President Trump', he concluded.
The bilateral talks have come in the backdrop of the US ending the privileges India was enjoying under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program on June 5. The GSP implemented in 1974, is the largest and oldest trade preference scheme and allows duty-free imports for thousand of products from designated beneficiaries countries.