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Pompeo pushes India for access to local markets, says US 'open' to discuss trade issues

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

US has pushed for to further open its economy and also "diversify" its portfolio, saying countries that have provided American companies access to their local markets have seen "real opportunity".

Speaking at the Ideas Summit of Business Council here Wednesday, ahead of his visit to later this month, he also said is "open" to dialogue on trade issues. He added countries that have allowed US firms to have a "fair and reciprocal trade", have seen open up to them. "And I think they've seen real opportunity."

The top American diplomat's remarks have come amid trade-related frictions between the US and several other countries, including Mexico, India and

US has been pursuing his trade policies aggressively and imposed tariffs on China, hitting billions of dollars of import of Chinese products.

The US media Friday reported that India could be his next target.

On Monday in a TV interview, Trump criticised India's import tariff on motorcycles as "unacceptable", though he acknowledged that his "good friend" has slashed the duty by half.

Earlier this month, Trump announced his decision to terminated India's designation as a beneficiary under the Generalised System of Preference trade programme, which allows duty-free entry for products in to the US, from June 5.

During his visit to India, Pompeo is to meet Modi and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar, and will likely to discuss trade in addition to strategic issues.

"We remain open to dialogue, and hope that our friends in India will drop their trade barriers and trust in the competitiveness" of their companies and businesses, he said at his policy speech at USIBC.

"We'll also push for free flow of data across borders, not just to help American companies, but to protect data and secure consumers' privacy," he said. "And speaking of privacy, we are eager to help India establish including 5G."

The two countries have to make sure they have economic openness, he said, adding the is trying to take down financial barriers and and create open markets.

"It needs to be a place where our partnership is one of true equals, not of domination. Based on my conversations in last year, and in subsequent phone calls and meetings, I believe this is a deeply shared vision," Pompeo said, referring to his previous visit to India in September last year for the inaugural "2+2 dialogue".

Pompeo said more than 500 American companies successfully operate in India and the US is a market of roughly 20 percent of India's exports in both goods and services.

"I think that makes India a perfect partner and a great place for us to figure out how to grow our economies and get for both nations," he said, adding India's free-market reforms unleashed innovation and entrepreneurship.

"That prosperity that began to be ushered back in 1991, has helped propel Indians to every corner of the Earth," he said.

The also talked about trade opportunities in the sector.

"We've been blessed with right here in the United States, and we're now out producing it at enormous levels, not just but as well," he said.

India by purchasing from the US can have a fully diversified energy portfolio where they don't have to "rely on nations that aren't as reliable as" the United States, he said, apparently referring to with which the US is engaged in a bitter standoff after Trump abruptly withdrew from a landmark nuclear agreement in May last year.

"We want to complete the Westinghouse civil nuclear project, and deliver more American LNG and crude," he said, adding these steps will reduce India's dependence on and

Responding to a question from the audience after his address, Pompeo revealed that as a businessman, before he ran for Congress, he had spent some time in and trying to sell products to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

"I'll tell you what. It was tough. India was still opening up, it was still figuring its way through, but there was a real value proposition there, and we did well, he said.

When I think about that, when I think about what businesses need when they go to invest in each other's countries, they need stability, they need a set of rules that they can understand, they need to make sure that the efforts that we put forward together from the have sufficient bipartisanship, that they won't be whipsawed, as we have elections here, he said.

Pompeo will embark on a four-nation visit of the Indo-Pacific on June 24. Other than India, he will visit Sri Lanka, and South Korea, concluding his tour on June 30.

He will join Trump in for the Summit.

Trump and are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the summit in on June 28-29.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 13 2019. 06:40 IST