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India-US Commercial Dialogue: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross not coming, will address talk via videoconference

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, speaks to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 14, 2019, 12.02 AM (IST) Siddhant Sibal

United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who was to be in Delhi on Thursday for the India-US Commercial Dialogue & CEO Forum will not be coming.

"Due to inclement weather, technical problems that led to the cancellation of his flight, and other logistical issues, Secretary Ross regrets he is no longer able to attend the CEO Forum and Commercial Dialogue in person," a statement from the US Department of Commerce said. 

US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster will now lead the US side. Ross will participate in both meetings via video conference. 

The Indian side will be led by Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu. 

The India US-CEO forum was established in 2005. 

Bilateral trade between India and the US rose to about $140 billion in 2018 from $126 billion in 2017. US exports to India are growing around two-and-a-half times faster than Indian exports to the US. 

Private Indian airlines have placed orders for around 300 Boeing aircraft which will be delivered over the next five to seven years. The orders are for around $39 billion and will create 130,000 American jobs. India has also started the import of US crude and natural gas worth $4.5 billion every year. Since 2008, the US has bagged more than $18 billion in arms contracts with India. 

The dialogue takes place this year even as US President Donald Trump has been raising the issue of high tariffs by India; he has even called India "Tariff king". 

Last month he touted how his call to India had helped bring down tariffs in "two minutes". 

The dialogue will also take place against the backdrop of reports suggesting the US government is contemplating withdrawal of the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) to Indian exporters. 

Industry body CII has cautioned against any such action. 

"GSP boosts the competitiveness of American manufacturers by lowering their costs & approximately two-thirds of U.S. imports under GSP are raw materials, components, or machinery and equipment used by U.S. companies to manufacture goods in the United States for domestic consumption or for export," it said in a statement. 

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'Due to inclement weather, technical problems that led to the cancellation of his flight, and other logistical issues, Secretary Ross regrets he is no longer able to attend the CEO Forum and Commercial Dialogue in person,' a statement from the US Department of Commerce said.