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USTR Robert Lighthizer unlikely to visit India ahead of Trump's official tour

New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) The expected visit of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this month, ahead of the two-day official tour of US President Donald Trump, to discuss a limited trade package with India is unlikely, an official said.

'Lighthizer was supposed to hold discussions with commerce ministry team but as of now, he is not coming,' the official said.

The visit of USTR assumed significance as Indian and US officials are engaged in talks for a limited trade deal.

However, the official said that as of now, there is no clarity if the trade pact will be signed during Trump's visit here, which will start from February 24.

Multiple rounds of talks have taken place between Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Lighthizer in the past few weeks over telephone.

The two countries are negotiating a trade package to iron out certain issues and promote two-way commerce.

India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), and greater market access for its products from sectors such as agriculture, automobile, automobile components and engineering.

On the other hand, the US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items, medical devices, and data localisation, apart from cut on import duties on some information and communication technology (ICT) products. The US has also raised concerns over high trade deficit with India.

In 2018-19, India's exports to the US stood at USD 52.4 billion, while imports were USD 35.5 billion. Trade deficit dipped from USD 21.3 billion in 2017-18 to USD 16.9 billion in 2018-19.

India received FDI worth USD 3.13 billion from the US in 2018-19, higher than USD 2 billion in 2017-18. PTI RR HRS