India & US to Hold Bilateral Trade Talks
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu will hold bilateral discussions on trade issues with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on February 14.
The Indo-US CEO Forum will also held its meeting on the same day, the commerce ministry said in a statement.
“Representatives of the US and Indian Governments will share outcomes of the 2018 commercial dialogue work plan, including the three work streams: standards, business climate and investment and travel and tourism,” it said.
Discussions will be held on the 2019 commercial dialogue priorities, identification of new areas of cooperation based on the new CEO Forum recommendations, it added.
The co-chairs for the US- India CEO Forum are Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, and James Taiclet, Chairman, President and CEO of American Tower Corporation.
It said that during the CEO forum, working groups will give presentations and recommendations related to their sector.
This forum was reconstituted by the Trump and Modi Administrations. It is an effective platform to highlight key market access issues that impact the ease of doing business and to identify areas for closer collaboration, it said.
Annual bilateral trade in goods and services between the countries doubled over the last decade, from USD 58 billion in 2007 to USD 126 in 2017.
“Both countries are resolved to remain engaged and take measures for further enhancement of bilateral trade. Bilateral trade in 2018 continued in spite of uncertain global economic conditions. Bilateral investment flows have also grown appreciably over recent years,” it added.
The talks assumes significance as officials of both the sides are negotiating a trade package to boost bilateral commerce.
India is pressing for exemption from high duty imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to some domestic goods under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) as well as greater market access for its products from sectors like agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.
On the other hand, the US is demanding greater market access through cut in import duties for its agriculture goods, dairy products, medical devices, IT and communication items, the official added.
However, the commerce ministry is not in favour of cutting or eliminating customs duties on seven categories of ICT products, including high-end mobile phones and smart watches, as demanded by the US, citing revenue loss and adverse impact on Make in India initiative.