US-India trade, e-commerce disputes likely to top Pompeo’s India agenda
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit India on Tuesday for talks with government leaders over a growing list of trade and investment issues that has cast a shadow over ties between the two big democracies.
Media reports also said terrorism, Afghanistan,de-escalation of the Persian Gulf crisis, the Indo-Pacific, Iran, trade issues, and growing bilateral defence ties will be the focus of discussions between the Indian government and Mike Pompeo.
The US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to meet later in the week at a G20 meeting in Japan.
India this month imposed higher tariffs on 28 US products including almonds, apples and walnuts, following the US withdrawal of certain trade privileges for India. Trump has called India “tariff king”, and pointed to 50% duties on Harley Davidson motorbikes as an example.
Tighter e-commerce foreign investment rules implemented in India in February have forced Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc to rework their business strategies in the country. Walmart last year invested $16 billion in Indian online retailer Flipkart.
The two countries also have differences over Russian arms sales to India and U.S. sanctions on China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. The United States has put China’s Huawei on an export blacklist citing national security issues.
Indian plans to buy S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia, which can trigger US sanctions under the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), prohibiting any engagement with Russia’s defence sector.
“India is a crucial partner in the Trump administration’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region; It shares our concerns about challenges to our shared interests in the region,” a senior official of the US State Department told press persons on Friday.
The official said Pompeo would “talk specifically … about expanding security, energy and space cooperation,” and noted that the two countries were gearing up for their first-ever tri-service military exercises in the Bay of Bengal later this year.