"Prime Minister Modi brought India together at the time of dissension--when India was torn. He is like an American version of Elvis (Presley)," Trump said on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly.
"I think very soon we'll have a trade deal. We'll have the larger deal down the road a little bit, but we will have a trade deal very soon," Trump told reporters as Modi watched on.
The deal would lower some tariffs on US produce and restore preferential treatment for some Indian exports to the United States, it was reported earlier this week.
Trump and Modi met this Sunday in Houston at an Indian-American rally dubbed “Howdy Modi!” in a 50,000-seat stadium — a sign of their warming relations, which are contributing to expectations for a “mini-deal.”
Trump has demanded better terms of trade from most of the top commercial partners of the United States, and blames previous deals for the loss of millions of US manufacturing jobs.
U.S.-India trade relations have been fraught. Trump has repeatedly complained about India’s high tariff rates, including a 50% tariff on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
The United States has also taken issue with India’s new investment rules on e-commerce that limit how companies like Amazon.com Inc and Walmart-backed Flipkart can do business in a rapidly growing online market set to touch $200 billion by 2027.