US President Donald Trump on Monday urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do more to relax trade barriers, saying he wants a trading relationship that is “fair and reciprocal.”
During talks in Washington where both leaders took great pains to stress the importance of a strong US-Indian relationship, Trump was warm but made clear he sees a need for more balance in the trade partnership, Reuters reports.
“It is important that barriers be removed to the export of US goods into your markets and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country,” he said.
At a closely watched first meeting between the leaders of the world’s largest democracies, Trump and Modi appeared to be getting along well.
But Trump said he wants more action on the part of India to help expand American exports and reduce the US trade deficit.
Last year the US trade deficit with India neared US$31 billion, according to Reuters.
Trump said he was pleased about an Indian airline’s recent order of 100 new American planes and that the US looks forward to exporting more energy, including long-term contracts to purchase American natural gas.
The energy contracts “are being negotiated and we will sign – trying to get the price up a little bit,” Trump said.
The comments came as Modi came to Washington looking to revitalize a relationship that had flagged as Trump looked to build a strong relationship with India’s rival, China.
Speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House, Modi expressed hope that India-US economic and trade ties will strengthen further.
“I am sure that under your leadership a mutually beneficial strategic partnership will gain new strength, new positively, and will reach new heights,” he told Trump.
During the meeting, Trump did not mention US differences with India on immigration and the Paris climate accord.
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