Oct. 4, 2018
India, the second most populous country in the world, has reached out to the U.S., seeking a free trade agreement, President Trump said Monday.
"India, which is the tariff king - they called us and they said, 'We want to start negotiations immediately ... We want to keep your president happy,' Trump said. "Isn't that nice? It's true. They have to keep us happy."
Monday wasn't the first time India has been spotlighted for its potential value as an FTA partner.
USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney has already led two trade delegations to the country and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has highlighted the country as important for trade growth.
"U.S.-India trade has grown significantly in the last few years and has the potential to span every sector of the economy," Lighthizer said after a meeting last year with Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu. "To increase reciprocal trade, we will continue to seek to identify and address trade barriers related to goods, including manufactured and agriculture, services and intellectual property rights."
U.S. corn farmers and ethanol producers could be some of the biggest beneficiaries of an FTA with India. The country has said for years it wants to expand ethanol use in the gasoline that runs its 142 million cars, motorcycles and trucks. India does not have the production capacity to make that happen, but U.S. companies say they do.