The White House is struggling to secure a trade agreement with India that would allow the United States’ access to medical devices, milk products and more during President Donald Trump’s state visit. 

Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, will not travel to India with the president, further minimizing the possibility of a substantial deal to be made.  

“We may make a tremendous deal there, or maybe we’ll slow it down. We’ll do it after the election. I think that could happen too,” Trump said at a rally on Thursday. “But we’re only making deals if they’re good deals, because we’re putting America first.”

A White House official told reporters on Friday that a “wide scope” of issues are complicating the progress towards the trade deal. “We want to address a lot of concerns and we’re not quite there yet. We will likely have discussions with the prime minister about these concerns,” the official added.

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As the U.S.’s ninth-largest trading partner, India is expected to announce some U.S. energy and defense product purchases. However, India’s trade policy is similar to the U.S.’s under the Trump Administration. Indian policies are created to protect domestic manufacturing and farmers through tariffs. With their latest “Make In India” initiatives, India is solely focusing on promoting the local economy 

The U.S. recorded a $24 billion trade deficit with India in 2019, while India’s exports grew exponentially faster than U.S. exports to India. This could be a motive for the president’s persistence in trying to reach a trade deal. However, Trump is refusing to meet India’s only demand: access to the U.S.’s Generalized System of Preferences, a program built for developing nations that discounts duties on roughly $6 billion worth of Indian imports.

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