US President Donald Trump’s signals on his priorities have caused some confusion in India so it is important for his administration to put its own stamp on the bilateral relationship, a former top American trade official said today. “The Trump Administration has been focused on large deal announcements on one hand and trade deficits on the other. It must take into account the disinclination of Indian leaders to view the relationship on a transactional basis,” Arun M Kumar, who served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of US Commercial Service in the Obama administration told PTI.
“President Trump’s signals on his priorities have caused some confusion in India. Therefore, it will be important for the Trump Administration to put its own stamp on the bilateral relationship,” he said ahead of Trump’s first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House tomorrow. Kumar, who currently is chairman & CEO of KPMG India, said that the US trade deficit with India has stayed flat over the last three years while bilateral trade has grown.
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It would be constructive to recognise that the trade between the US and India is diminishing as a percentage of total trade, he said. “The Trump Administration can place its imprimatur on the US-India relationship by expanding the canvas of the S&CD to foster engagement at the level of the two countries’ states,” he said. It would make eminent sense for leaders from states in both countries to meet once a year in a structured setting to advance business and mutual interests, he said.
A business forum between US and Indian states will go a long way in creating the next paradigm of growth for the US – India relationship and will be aligned with the themes and priorities of both leaders, he asserted. Underscoring that US-India relationship carries great political and economic significance in the current geopolitical and security context, he said the two countries share concerns on global terrorism. “And on economic globalisation, their impulses differ as India has been a beneficiary of globalisation,” he observed.