He noted that Prime Minister would be in the US in September to attend the UN General Assembly and would also travel to Houston, America’s energy capital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday informed US President Donald Trump that India plans to further step up imports, including oil, from the country and that $4 billion worth of imports were already “in the pipeline”, as the two countries sought to overcome their differences on tariffs and market access.
The Modi-Trump meeting assumes significance in the wake of the strain that has popped up in the bilateral relationship on a host of trade and economic issues.
Meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in the French city of Biarritz, where India was a special invitee, Modi and Trump agreed that preferably before the Prime Minister visits US next month, there will be an interaction between their trade ministers at which “the whole range of trade issues will be discussed,” foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said.
Briefing on the 40-minute meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump, he told reporters that commerce minister Piyush Goyal was supposed to go to Washington earlier but it did not materialise.
In Washington, a readout of the Modi-Trump meeting said, the two leaders discussed ways to broaden their strategic partnership and greatly increase trade between the US and India.
Though trade is an important part of the booming bilateral strategic partnership, a row over market access and tariffs has escalated in recent months, leading to fears of a protracted dispute.
President Trump has previously described India as the “tariff king.” Before his meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, demanded the withdrawal of India’s “very high” tariffs on US goods. “The Prime Minister spoke of the importance of energy imports from the US, and he referred to the fact that 4 billion dollars worth of imports are already in the pipeline and that would be expected to be stepped up,” Gokhale said.
He noted that Prime Minister would be in the US in September to attend the UN General Assembly and would also travel to Houston, America’s energy capital. The prime minister is scheduled to address the Indian community in Houston on September 22.
In Houston, the prime minister is expected to have a round table with the top CEOs of the energy companies in the US, he said. He said the objective there is two fold, one to see how India can import more energy (oil) from the US and second is how the country can invest in the energy sector in the US.
Gokhale said President Trump spoke very warmly of the fact that India has become a major importer of energy. He also indicated that he was willing to send top administration officials to Houston in an effort to ensure that the bilateral energy relationship made progress.
India’s exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at $47.9 billion, while imports were at $26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.