Modi, Trump may reference ‘mini-deal’ on trade at Houston event

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News:Indian Prime Minister and the US President are expected to announce a mini trade deal during Prime Minister’s visit to the US.

Facts:

About the trade deal:

  • The trade deal may address some of the US concerns on (a)ICT tariffs (b)data localisation rules (c)price caps on medical equipment like knee implants and (d)agricultural market access for select products. 
  • In return,the United States(US) is expected to roll back some of the tariffs that it had imposed on India in 2018,when it began its Generalised system of preferences(GSP) review.

Major issues between India and US:

Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Programme:

  • Recently,the United States(US) had terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP programme.
  • GSP is a preferential tariff system extended by developed countries to developing countries. 
  • It is a preferential arrangement in the sense that it allows concessional low/zero tariff imports from developing countries.

Services

  • India has concerns over US visa policies which has affected Indian nationals working in the United States.India is challenging US fees for worker visas in the WTO and monitoring potential US action to revise the H-1B visa program.
  • India has also asked US for a totalization agreement to coordinate social security protection for workers who split their careers between the two countries.

E-commerce rules:

  • The US has concerns regarding India’s e-commerce rules which had imposed restrictions on how e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Walmart owned Flipkart conduct business.

Additional information:

Totalisation agreement:

  • Totalization agreements are a means of protecting the benefit rights of workers who divide their working career between two or more countries. 
  • They also help to eliminate situations in which workers or employers are required to pay Social Security taxes to two countries on the same earnings. 
  • In addition,totalization agreements also removes legal obstacles that prevent a person who has earned benefits in one country from receiving those benefits while residing in the other country.