Accompanied by CEO’s, Wilbur Ross to hold discussions with India’s commerce chief

india us ceo forum
Photo: AP/Gurinder Osan
india us ceo forum
Photo: AP/Gurinder Osan

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is in Delhi today for discussions with his Indian counterpart, Suresh Prabhu. The two will also co-chair the US-India CEO Forum—a platform for a select group of top-tier executives to discuss market access issues.

The US-India trade relationship is worth more than of $126 billion a year. With more than half of India’s population under the age of 25, this figure is likely to increase substantially in the coming years.

However, market access for both Indian and US firms remains an issue. The US currently levies a 25% tariff on Indian steel and aluminium imports and is reviewing India’s eligibility for a program known as the GSP, which enables 12% of Indian exports to come into America with no tariffs at all. For its part, Washington is concerned about India’s intellectual property treatment, particularly in relation to pharmaceuticals, as well as limits on foreign ownership regulations.

In early January, Donald Trump and Narendra Modi vowed to reduce trade barriers. Such a sentiment is likely to be echoed by executives at today’s CEO forum. However, given India’s historic reluctance to open its large market to international competition, any such move is likely to be limited—taking a targeted approach, rather than a sweeping free trade agreement.

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