Trade deal unlikely during Trump’s India visit

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The stage is all set in India for the two-day visit of US President Donald Trump starting Monday.

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The 36-hour visit is Trump’s first to India as the US president. He visited the South Asian country as a businessman before.

Trump’s Air Force One airplane is expected to touch down at the airport in Ahmedabad, a city in the western coastal state of Gujarat, before noon on Monday, and he will depart for Washington on Tuesday evening.

The highlights of Trump’s visit are the massive road show to welcome him in Ahmedabad which will culminate in a huge reception by nearly 100,000 Indians, a sunset visit to the world heritage site the “Taj Mahal,” and his high-level deliberations and industry meetings in Delhi on Tuesday. The visit assumes significance as it comes in an election year in the United States.

Notably, the US entering a new election cycle, it is unlikely any major outcomes will be possible on trade or regional security issues, “where differences on market access and Afghanistan are still very much on the minds of policymakers.

Though Trump has categorically said that a trade deal was not possible, anticipation remains high in India ahead of his visit.

Considering what has appeared in the Indian media over the past few days in the run-up to the visit, focus remains on trade, defense and Afghanistan.

It is anticipated that the Generalized System of Preferences, a reduced tariff system which has been withdrawn by the United States from India, would be among the subjects to be discussed.