India to open up protected dairy, poultry markets for US

In a major concession, India is likely to give the US access to its dairy and poultry markets in exchange for renegotiated terms for its pharmaceutical, textile and industrial exports under a new bilateral trade deal to be signed during President Donald Trump's visit to New Delhi later this month. Top sources told IANS that India is willing to partially open up its traditionally protected sectors -- dairy and poultry -- on the condition that the US grants India better terms for its pharmaceutical, textile and agro-machinery products.

Feb 14, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump

In a major concession, India is likely to give the US access to its dairy and poultry markets in exchange for renegotiated terms for its pharmaceutical, textile and industrial exports under a new bilateral trade deal to be signed during President Donald Trump's visit to New Delhi later this month. Top sources told IANS that India is willing to partially open up its traditionally protected sectors -- dairy and poultry -- on the condition that the US grants India better terms for its pharmaceutical, textile and agro-machinery products.

The Indian offer, sources said, is in view of President Trump's lament that US has had a trade deficit of $65 billion with India. However, in 2018, the deficit had reduced to $25.2 billion while the US and India trade of goods was worth $142.6 billion.

"India is the world's largest milk producer but our dairy economy is not sound given the production cost and unaffordability of keeping the cattle once they stop producing milk. Similarly, there is a huge environmental cost to poultry," a top source familiar with the negotiations of the trade deal between the US and India, said.

The government in New Delhi has made the offer to the US, its second-largest trading partner, after making a thorough assessment of India's traditionally protected markets that have already been opened up.

Sources said India expects the US to give India better terms for trade in pharmaceuticals. In 2018, India exported only five billion USD worth drugs and pharmaceutical products to the US.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US patent protection laws prevent India from exporting drugs and medical equipment which are produced cheaply in the domestic market. The US must open up its market for us, sources working on the deal said.