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New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu will hold bilateral discussions on trade issues with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on February 14 here, an official said.

Both the ministers would meet as part of the bilateral commercial dialogue.

The talks assumes significance as officials of both the sides are negotiating a trade package to boost bilateral commerce.

India is pressing for exemption from high duty imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to some domestic goods under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) as well as greater market access for its products from sectors like agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.

On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access through cut in import duties for its agriculture goods, dairy products, medical devices, IT and communication items, the official added.

However, the commerce ministry is not in favour of cutting or eliminating customs duties on seven categories of ICT products, including high-end mobile phones and smart watches, as demanded by the US, citing revenue loss and adverse impact on Make in India initiative.

India's exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were USD 26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.

In Washington, Ross had Wednesday said: "I am happy to report that I'm scheduled to visit India this coming February. I'll be co-chairing the US-India Commercial Dialogue and the US- India CEO forum with my Indian counterpart, (commerce and industry) minister (Suresh) Prabhu".




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