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Indo-US ties 'extremely strong', can overcome any obstacle: Jaishankar


New Delhi: Amid concerns over trade issues between India and the US, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday expressed confidence that the two countries have an "extremely strong" relationship and  can overcome any obstacle.

Jaishankar, while speaking at the US-India strategic partnership forum here, said there will be issues with the US because it has made trade issues much more central to its foreign policy, but they can be worked out through dialogue.

"I am very confident that the relationship is today extremely strong. Look at the trade numbers, visa numbers, every number is good," he said.

"I don't see any obstacle that can't be overcome between the United States and India," he said.

Jaishankar's remarks come amid negotiations for a trade package between the two countries to iron out issues and promote two-way commerce.

India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), greater market access for its products from sectors, including agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.

On the other hand the US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices, and cut on import duties on some ICT products. The US has also raised concerns over high trade deficit with India.

In 2018-19, India's exports to the US stood at USD 52.4 billion, while imports were USD 35.5 billion. Trade deficit dipped from USD 21.3 billion in 2017-18 to USD 16.9 billion in 2018-19.

India received FDI worth USD 3.13 billion from the US in 2018-19, higher than USD 2 billion in 2017-18.

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