First phase of India-US mega trade deal expected to be sealed soon

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump at meeting at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, Tuesday

India and the US are set to sign the first phase of a mega trade deal soon under a model followed by the Donald Trump administration in finalising a similar deal with China.

Official sources said India and the US have almost completed negotiations for first phase of the ambitious deal and it will be formalised soon.

The US and China inked an initial trade deal last month, ending an 18-month-long dispute. The two countries are now working on a final trade deal.

Sources said India and the US have also decided to launch talks on a totalisation agreement which relieves Indians from double taxation.

Any Indian working in the US has to contribute to social security from his salary, but the money is not released if the employee returns to India without completing a period of 10 years of service.

"The issue was raised during delegation-level meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump. We hope to begin negotiations on the totalisation pact soon," said a source.

The sources said a major focus of the talks was on trade related issues.

After his talks with Trump, PM Modi on Tuesday said both the sides agreed to start negotiations for a "big trade deal" and hoped that it will yield good results in mutual interest.

President Trump, in turn, said, "Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement and I am optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries."

"Since I took office, US exports to India are up nearly 60 per cent and exports of high-quality American energy have grown by 500 per cent," the US President said.

Modi said India and the US are committed to openness and fair and balanced trade in the economic sector.

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