Biden urged to enter into a trade deal with India

A top Republican lawmaker has welcomed India signing a trade deal with Australia, and urged the Biden administration to enter into a similar arrangement with New Delhi that can advance Washington’s strong economic agenda in the strategically vital Indo-Pacific region.

“I’m pleased to see #Australia & #India sign a strong trade deal,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch said in a tweet.

“The US needs to do the same and advance a strong economic agenda in the #IndoPacific.

“The Biden Admin’s failure to lead hurts US growth and our partnership in the region,” Risch said in another tweet.

On April 2, India and Australia entered into an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement.

The agreement was signed virtually by Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan and his Indian counterpart Minister of Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.

Under the pact, Australia is offering zero duty access to India for about 96.4 per cent of exports (by value) from day one.

This covers many products which currently attract 4-5 per cent customs duty in Australia.

In February this year, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that India and the US are in dialogue to look at ways, beyond a free trade agreement, to promote economic ties by providing better market access and enhanced engagement on investments.

The two countries are negotiating a trade package to iron out certain issues and promote two-way commerce.

In 2021, the US had exported over $1.6 billion agricultural products to India.

The total bilateral trade stood at $80.5 billion in 2020-21 as against $88.9 billion in 2019-20.

India’s exports to the US stood at $51.62 billion in 2020-21 as against $53 billion in 2019-20.

Similarly, India’s imports from the US stood at $28.9 billion in 2020-21 as against the $35.9 billion in 2019-20, according to commerce ministry data.

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