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Trump to visit India on Feb 24-25, here's what India expects from him

According to the sources, Trump's business delegation with around 15 CEOs would represent sectors ranging from finance and banking to information technology and retail

Kanishka Gupta  |  New Delhi 

US President will visit India for two days later this month when he is expected to reach a trade agreement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making things "right" in the two countries' ties.

According to the sources, Trump’s business delegation with around 15 CEOs would represent sectors ranging from finance and banking to information technology and retail. A few of the top names doing the rounds include Mastercard President & CEO Ajay Banga, WaterHealth President & CEO Sanjay Bhatnagar, and AECOM Chairman & CEO Michael S Burke.

However, when asked about leading names of Indian origin such as and Satya Nadella, India officials refused to confirm if they too would be part of the delegation.

Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer is likely to be in India between Feb 24 and Feb 26 and may visit New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. He is also likely to meet senior Indian industry leaders during his visit, and Microsoft also is trying to arrange Nadella’s meeting with Prime Modi.

On the India side, leading businesses likely to be invited to the CEOs’ round table during Trump’s visit include Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, N Chandrasekaran, Anand Mahindra, A M Naik, and Sunil Mittal, among others.

But as mentioned before, nothing except that Trump will be in India on February 24 and 25, is confirmed.

That apart, a visit by Trump’s right hand man for trade negotiations — United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer — also remains uncertain. Lighthizer was set to attend a crucial meeting in New Delhi this week to iron out trade issues, but no official confirmation was put out, as of Wednesday.

People in the know say the government is now betting on a compromise on agri trade, which may see India systematically revoking high import duties on key agricultural produce such as almonds, walnut, apples, and wine, on which New Delhi had raised duties by up to 50 per cent last year. Farm lobbies have pressurised the government to restrict market access for these products. “Discussions on other American demands — lower duties for industrial components, engineering products, and tech goods like smartwatches and iPhones — are lengthy and not expected to be completed by the time of Trump’s visit,” an official said.

While both sides are working on a “comprehensive trade package”, US trade officials have expressed their displeasure with New Delhi’s decision to saddle medical device imports with an additional health cess.

India has refused to roll it back, but people in the know say the government may allow a trade margin policy for specific high-value items like coronary stents. Further, the US on Tuesday classified India as a developed economy, making it ineligible for...

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First Published: Thu, February 13 2020. 12:26 IST