Wincing from retaliatory trade measures imposed by the Indian government, a senior United States trade official characterized India’s decision to implement such measures as inappropriate.
Deputy United States Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish made the comments on Thursday before the first Annual Leadership Summit of US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF). According to Gerrish, the reduction in the trade deficit between the two countries over the previous year was not sufficient.
“We were disappointed with the fact that India actually has imposed retaliatory measures actually it’s not imposed them yet but announced retaliatory measures,” he lamented.
“They (India) are approaching this as a safeguard metric that we have imposed. On that basis, they’ve determined that they have a basis to impose retaliatory measures.”
Gerrish continued by saying that the imposition of blanket tariffs on steel and aluminium by the Trump administration does not constitute such a safeguard measure.
“We know how to do a safeguard measure. So there’s no basis at all to retaliate against us,” he emphasized.
“We think that it was not appropriate. We’ve made that very clear. That being said, India could have at least postpone the retaliation until August 4 and there may be some basis to have further discussions on that issue as we approach that date.”
On balance, the Trump administration has continually emphasized that economic security goes hand-in-hand with national security, said Gerrish. He says the administration seeks to grow its trade relationship with India, and has put into place mechanisms for doing just that.
“Part of economic security is developing strong economic relationships with our closest allies and India would be one of those closest allies that we have. And it’s a way of sort of counter balancing China’s influence in the region,” he said.
“I think we want to build up that economic relationship as much as possible and defence sales certainly would also help in that regard.”