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'Big trade deal' between US & India on the way, Trump & Modi say

'Big trade deal' between US & India on the way, Trump & Modi say
US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have pledged to seal a comprehensive trade accord soon as the two sides are engaged in "positive" talks on the matter.

"Our commerce ministers have had positive talks on trade. Both of us have decided that our teams should give legal shape to these trade talks. We also agreed to open negotiations on a big trade deal," said Modi during a joint statement with Trump outside Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

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The two leaders held formal talks on issues like economic relations, trade and energy, as well as security issues. The meeting resulted in two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) — on mental health and on the safety of medical products — and a letter of cooperation between Exxon Mobil and India's energy sector.

The US-India trade agreement was expected to be forged before the US leader's trip to India, which started on Monday, but Washington and New Delhi failed to reach a deal. Trump announced that it won't be inked during the visit, but later noted that the two sides are making "tremendous" progress.

"I'm optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries," he said on Tuesday. He also boasted that since he took office US exports to India jumped nearly 60 percent and exports of American energy products have grown by 500 percent.

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While Trump seemed optimistic about the future of what he called "biggest ever made trade deals" and the economic ties between the countries in general during the visit, on Monday he noted that they are "in the early stages of discussion" of the agreement. He still assured that the accord will be signed by the end of year, despite his Indian counterpart being "a very tough negotiator."

Trump has been pushing New Delhi to lower tariffs on American products in order to boost their exports and decrease the US-India trade deficit. Tensions rose last year, when the US removed India from its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a mechanism that granted key trade privileges for certain Indian goods. New Delhi raised a number of tariffs on dozens of American goods in response.

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