India and the US emphasized on collaboration and constructive engagement in various multilateral trade bodies

India and the US on Tuesday held 12th Ministerial-level meeting of the India-US Trade Policy Forum in New Delhi with a view to advancing the goal to “develop an ambitious, shared vision for the future of the trade relationship,” as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Biden at their September 24, 2021 meeting.

At the Forum, while India was represented by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, the US was represented by its Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the two sides ensured that India– US TPF took a firm decision to integrate the economies across sectors and move towards securing an ambitious future for trade relations between the two strategic partners and democracies.

During the meeting, the two leaders underlined the importance of integrating the two economies across sectors to harness the untapped potential of the relationship, the Ministry said.

The two leaders, as per the Ministry, pushed to work towards a more ambitious future for the bilateral trade and economic relationship and take it to the next level so that both economies could benefit from the inherent complementarities.

The Ministers recognized the importance of engaging in collaborative discussion on the full range of existing and emerging issues affecting our trade relationship.

In this regard, TPF could be the major platform for collaboration and cooperation in trade matters, resolve bilateral trade concerns and explore important, emerging trade policy issues.

The two sides also decided that TPF Working Groups on agriculture, non-agriculture goods, services, investment, and intellectual property should be activated to meet frequently in order to address issues of mutual concern of both sides in a mutually beneficial manner.

As per the Ministry, the two sides also expressed satisfaction over the robust rebound in bilateral merchandise trade this year 2021 (January – September 2021), which showed almost 50 percent growth over the same period in the previous year; bilateral merchandise trade in the current year poised to surpass the US $ 100 billion mark.

They stressed on the importance of establishing a conducive business environment underscored and in this regard, economic reforms rolled out by India including liberalization of FDI in the insurance sector, elimination of a retrospective provision in income tax, and launching of the “Single Window System” for facilitating investment highlighted.

The two sides also laid emphasis on collaboration and constructive engagement in various multilateral trade bodies including WTO and G20 for achieving a shared vision of a transparent, rules-based global trading system among market economies and democracies.

They also laid stress on the significance of creating resilient and secure supply chains and in this regard India and the US may work with like-minded partners in developing secure supply chains in critical sectors of trade and technology.

During the meeting, India highlighted the importance of cooperation in the health sector, and expressed interest in partnering with the US and allies in developing a secure pharmaceutical manufacturing base for augmenting global supply chains.

They emphasized on participation and collaboration of the private sector in both countries in building stronger linkages in critical sectors (including cyberspace, semiconductors, AI, 5G, 6G and future generation telecommunications technology), and supporting resilient and secure global supply chains.

They also emphasized on tangible benefits to farmers and businesses of both countries by resolving outstanding market access issues through continuous engagement.

Agreement on market access facilitation for mangoes and pomegranates, pomegranate arils from India, and cherries and alfalfa hay for animal feed from the US.

They also agreed to work to resolve market access for grapes from India and pork and pork products from the US.

Both sides agreed to continue engagement on exploring enhanced market access for products including Distillers’ Dried Grains with Soluble from the US and market access for water buffalo meat and wild caught shrimp from India.

They also laid stress on the significance of IP protection and enforcement for promotion of innovation as well as bilateral trade and investment in IP-intensive industries.

At the meet, India highlighted the significance of restoration of GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) benefits as it would help industries from both sides in integrating their supply chain efficiently.

India and the US, during the meeting, highlighted importance of services, including digital services, and the significant potential for increasing bilateral services trade and investment.

They underlined the importance of movement of professional and skilled workers, students, investors and business travelers between both countries, as it contributes immensely to enhancing bilateral economic and technological partnership.

Both sides agreed on the significance of negotiating a Social Security Totalization Agreement in the interest of workers from both sides, and further engagement on pursuing such an agreement welcomed, the Ministry said.

Both sides also emphasized that the TPF should continually deliver concrete outcomes to generate mutual confidence.

Ministers directed the TPF Working Groups to develop, by March 2022, plans of action for making substantive progress, including identification of a set of specific trade outcomes that could be finalized for an inter-sessional TPF meeting to be held by mid-2022, the Ministry said.