US President Donald Trump has said he is “saving the big deal” with India for later and he “does not know” if it will be done before the presidential election in November, clearly indicating that a major bilateral trade deal during his visit to Delhi next week might not be on the cards.
“We can have a trade deal with India. But I’m really saving the big deal for later,” Donald Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews Tuesday afternoon (local time).
Donald Trump is scheduled to visit India on February 24 and 25.
The US and India could sign a “trade package” during the visit, according to media reports.
Asked whether he expects a trade deal with India before the visit, Donald Trump said, “We’re doing a very big trade deal with India. We’ll have it. I don’t know if it’ll be done before the election, but we’ll have a very big deal with India.”
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the point-person for trade negotiations with India, is likely to not accompany Donald Trump to India, sources said. However, officials have not ruled it out altogether.
In an apparent dissatisfaction over US-India trade ties, Donald Trump said, “We’re not treated very well by India.” But he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he is looking forward to his visit to India.
“I happen to like Prime Minister Modi a lot,” Donald Trump said.
“He told me we’ll have seven million people between the airport and the event. And the stadium, I understand, is sort of semi under construction, but it’s going to be the largest stadium in the world. So it’s going to be very exciting… I hope you all enjoy it,” Donald Trump told reporters.