India, US seek to bolster trade ties, work together on critical minerals

By Shivangi Acharya and Mayank Bhardwaj

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India and the United States have agreed to bolster trade ties and deepen cooperation in areas such as critical minerals, the United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Saturday.

India’s trade minister Piyush Goyal and Tai held their annual trade policy talks in New Delhi on Jan. 12. Tai is on a three-day visit to India.

The two nations are pushing to improve bilateral trade prospects, overcoming diplomatic tensions after Washington late last year alleged that an Indian official was linked to a foiled plot to murder a Sikh separatist leader on U.S. soil.

India has said any such action was contrary to government policy and launched its own investigation into the allegations.

During talks between Tai and Goyal, India said it was interested in a bilateral critical mineral partnership.

Washington and New Delhi would exchange information to deepen their partnership in this area, said an Indian official, who didn’t wish to be named as discussions are not public.

“In terms of the roadmap (for critical minerals), we are going to begin with fact-finding, exploring and establishing a common vocabulary and then develop our tools and ideas from there,” Tai told a news briefing in New Delhi.

India also asked the United States to improve its visa processes for business professionals from India and requested Washington restore duty-free access to some goods under the so-called generalized system of preferences, according to a joint statement issued after the Jan. 12 meeting.

A U.S. trade preference program, which India had access to for decades, was ended by former President Donald Trump in 2019.

During her talks in New Delhi, Tai asked India to ensure that New Delhi’s policies on laptop imports do not restrict trade.

(Reporting by Shivangi Acharya and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Mark Potter)