India and the US are negotiating a deal to iron out differences on trade issues to boost economic ties.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump have a strong personal bond and a strong commitment to do a trade deal, “so there’s a chance”, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said at the third India-US Leadership Summit organised virtually by the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) on Monday.
Biegun was responding to a question on the prospect of a mini trade deal before the US presidential election in November.
“Do you think we’ve got a chance at a mini trade deal before the election?” former US Ambassador to India Richard Verma asked.
“I think there’s a chance. It’s going to take a little more energy,” Biegun said.
“The time is short before the US elections and a lot of governments around the world are hedging a little bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Indian government as well,” the American diplomat said.
The US remained India’s top trading partner for the second consecutive fiscal in 2019-20. According to the data of the commerce ministry, in 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at USD 88.75 billion, as against USD 87.96 billion in 2018-19.
The US is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus. The trade gap between the countries has increased to USD 17.42 billion in 2019-20 from USD 16.86 billion in 2018-19, the data showed.
In 2018-19, the US had surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner.