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U.S., India hold talks to calm trade tensions, Ross joins by video

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By Neha and Miglani

(Reuters) - U.S. and officials pressed on with talks on Thursday to resolve their differences over trade and investment, sources said, even though U.S. called off his visit because of bad weather at home.

Ross addressed a U.S.-Forum by video after his flight was cancelled and was due to similarly join the commercial dialogue later in the day with Indian Suresh Prabhu, the sources said.

U.S. to is leading the delegation on the ground.

and the are sparring over a range of issues, from India's new rules on that affect firms such as and to data localisation and its tariffs that U.S. says are exceptionally high.

has also had a longstanding grievance with India over its large trade deficit with the and what it sees as the Indian government's lax intellectual property enforcement.

A U.S. trade delegation led by Trade Representative and began high-level talks with Chinese counterparts on Thursday to de-escalate a tariff war ahead of a March 1 deadline for a deal.

defends the measures on as a way to protect the interests of small businesses and says it has been cutting tariffs gradually to give local industry a level playing field and create jobs for a very large youth population.

Details of the discussions held on Thurdsay were not immediately available and officials said the two sides were likely to issue a joint statement later on Thursday.

The sources also said that trade negotiations would be conducted by the (USTR) and not by the Commerce Department, which is focused on boosting investment, improving the business climate and some specific areas such as travel and tourism.

Still, the two sides are expected to touch on the thorny issues that have cropped up in recent months and pledge efforts to address them. "It will be a friendly discussion, they would avoid the risk of disappointment," said a source with knowledge of the matter.

The meeting comes at a time when the USTR is reviewing India's eligibility as a beneficiary of its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) under which the country has enjoyed zero tariffs for about 2,000 goods exported to the United States that are worth $5.6 billion.

reported last week that the USTR is considering withdrawal or scaling back of these tariffs because of the lack of reciprocity from India on its tariffs, its tightening curbs on and its insistence that foreign payment card companies, such as and Visa, store data in India.

(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 14 2019. 19:34 IST