US President Donald Trump stressed on a “fair and reciprocal” trading relationship with India during talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Monday.
“It is important that barriers be removed to the export of U.S. goods into your markets and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country,” Trump told Modi referring to a burgeoning trade deficit that reached $31 billion in 2016.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States is aimed at revitalizing relations with Washington.
At a joint press meet, Modi said the US is a “valued partner” in India’s flagship programs.
“I laud your commitment towards strong India-USA bilateral relations,” Modi said.
The two leaders did not answer questions from journalists.
Trump said contracts for natural gas exports to India “are being negotiated and we will sign – trying to get the price up a little bit”.
In their statement the two sides did not make any reference to the contentious reforms of the H1B visa program that the Indian Prime Minister sought to discuss with the US administration.
India has been concerned by President Trump’s reform of the H1B visa system that has traditionally benefited Indian tech firms.
Ahead of Modi’s trip US lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties, advised Trump to press the Indian Premier over his administration’s failure to enact market-based reforms.
“Many sectors of the Indian economy remain highly and unjustifiably protected, and India continues to be a difficult place for American companies to do business,” they wrote in a letter to Trump, noting that a 2017 World Bank report ranked India 130th out of 190 countries for ease of doing business.