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E-com policy, data localisation figure in Indo-US trade talks

May 06, 2019 22:05 IST

However, the countries did not take up the issue of proposed withdrawal of export incentives by the US to Indian exporters under Generalized System of Preference.

Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

Issues like India's draft e-commerce policy, data localisation, high import duties imposed by America on steel and aluminium figured during the meeting between visiting US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi on Monday, sources said.

 

The other matters which were discussed between the leaders include the US concerns on medical devices, personal data protection bill of India, RBI's public credit registry, data localisation for payment companies, visa issue, airport ground handling operations by US Airlines, IPR and airline passenger safety system/data, they added.

However, the countries did not take up the issue of proposed withdrawal of export incentives by the US to Indian exporters under Generalized System of Preference (GSP), one of the sources said.

Although India has said the withdrawal of GSP benefits by the US will not impact domestic exporters, local industry has demanded for continuation of the incentives.

Further, the US companies have raised concerns over India's draft e-commerce policy and issues related with mandatory data localisation requirements.

The issue assumes significance amid apprehensions that the draft e-commerce policy favours domestic players and does not provide level-playing field for US firms such as Amazon and Walmart.

India, on the other hand raised the issue of high import duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products.

Besides, India also wants the US to relax the provisions of visa regime for Indian IT professionals and companies.

Meanwhile, an official statement issued by the commerce ministry said that India and the US have agreed to engage regularly at various levels to resolve outstanding trade issues by exploring mutually beneficial suitable solutions.

"Both sides agreed to deepen economic cooperation and bilateral trade by ensuring greater cooperation amongst stakeholders, including government, businesses and entrepreneurs," it said.

Ross is visiting India to attend the 11th Trade Winds Business Forum and Mission hosted by the US Department of Commerce.

The statement said the both sides also discussed various "outstanding trade issues" and agreed to engage regularly at various levels to resolve them by exploring "suitable solutions, which are mutually beneficial and promote economic development and prosperity in both countries".

Both the countries are locked in a tariff dispute with the US deciding to end preferential trade treatment to Indian exports, while New Delhi proposing to impose retaliatory duties on American goods.

Bilateral trade in goods and services has registered a 12.6 per cent rise to $ 142 billion in 2018, compared to $ 126 billion in 2017.

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