While the U.S.’s worsening trade conflict with China is continuously making headlines, is it possible that yet another standoff with a serious rival is looming over America? That was exactly the case for concern for many experts in the wake of Wilbur Ross’s recent cancelation of his visit to India. Ross, Secretary of Commerce, was expected to direct talks over the future of the deal, worth some $125 billion annually, but had pulled off at the last minute. The negotiations over the deal are already proving to be difficult, which is why his in-person visit was supposed to facilitate the process, report replyua.net via CNN.
A spokesperson for the Department of Trade said the reason for canceling the visit was unfavorable weather conditions and other logistical difficulties, and that Secretary regretted he would not able to attend to the talks directly. The spokesperson also added that Ross would be joining the negotiating table remotely.
Previously, tensions mounted between the countries, as each has been calling for “Made in America” or “Made in India” economic priority. Trump has also been advocating for drastic measures to reduce the U.S. trade deficit. India is one of the largest exporters to the U.S., having sold it a total of some $50 billion last year. At the same time, it imported the U.S. goods totaling $30 billion.
On the other hand, Indian prime minister is heading for his second term campaign soon, so he is very keen to bring more manufacturing jobs to his country. The Washington administration said last year that it would investigate India’s participation in the Generalized System of Preferences, of which it had benefited greatly, prompting talks of India’s possible removal from the program. The announcement came in the wake of complaints about India’s high tariffs on American goods, for example its 150 percent fee on imported whiskey.
Last year, India was hit by high tariffs imposed by the U.S. on aluminum and steel. In response, it has threatened imposing new tariffs on its own.
If the serious trade conflict is to unfold, Walmart and Amazon will be hit hard. India is not happy with Amazon’s competition, which is pushing down prices in the country. In the meantime, both companies announced their plans to invest billions in their India businesses. U.S. officials are reportedly pressuring India to loosen its e-commerce regulation.