Key Highlights of India US Trade Policy Forum

India and the United States held the 12th Ministerial-level meeting of the India-United States Trade Policy Forum (TPF) in New Delhi on November 23, 2021 with a view to advancing the goal.

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Katherine Tai, USTR, Piyush Goyal

India – United States today reaffirmed their commitment to take the economic relationship between the two countries to the next high level. Commerce and Industry Minister of India Shri Piyush Goyal and USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai also ensured that

India – US TPF takes 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.

The two leaders underlined the importance of integrating the two economies across sectors to harness the untapped potential of the relationship.

During the meeting, the leaders 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.

India and the United States held the 12th Ministerial-level meeting of the India-United States Trade Policy Forum (TPF) in New Delhi on November 23, 2021 with a view to advancing the goal, to “develop an ambitious, shared vision for the future of the trade relationship”, as announced by PM Modi and President Biden at their September 24, 2021 meeting.

Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Textiles, Consumer Affairs and Food& Public Distribution, Shri Piyush Goyal and U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai co-chaired the TPF meeting.

The Ministers recognized the importance of engaging in a 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.

Highlights of the India USA TPF 2021 discussions are as follows:

Bilateral trade matters

  • TPF Working Groups on agriculture, non-agriculture goods, services, investment, and intellectual property to be activated to meet frequently in order to address issues of mutual concern of both sides in a mutually beneficial manner.
  • Expressed satisfaction over the robust rebound in bilateral merchandise trade this year 2021 (January – September 2021), which showed almost 50 per cent growth over the same period in the previous year; bilateral merchandise trade in the current year is poised to surpass the US$ 100 billion mark.
  • 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.
  • Emphasis on Collaboration and constructive engagement in various multilateral trade bodies including the WTO, the G20 etc for achieving a shared vision of a transparent, rules-based global trading system among market economies and democracies.
  • Significance of creating resilient and secure supply chains and in this regard India and the United States may work with like-minded partners in developing secure supply chains in critical sectors of trade and technology.
  • India highlighted the importance of cooperation in the health sector and expressed interest in partnering with the U.S. and allies in developing a secure pharmaceutical manufacturing base for augmenting global supply chains.
  • Emphasis 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.
  • Emphasis 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 United States.
  • Agreed to work to resolve market access for grapes from India and pork/ pork products from the USA.
  • Both sides to continue engagement on exploring enhanced market access for products including Distillers’ Dried Grains with Solubles from the US and market access for water buffalo meat and wild-caught shrimp from India.
  • Significance of IP protection and enforcement for promotion of innovation as well as bilateral trade and investment in IP-intensive industries noted.

Future Work

  • 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. The United States noted it for suitable consideration.
  • Importance of services, including digital services, and the significant potential for increasing bilateral services trade and investment.
  • Underlined the importance of the movement of professional and skilled workers, students, investors and business travellers between both countries, as it contributes immensely to enhancing bilateral economic and technological partnership.
  • 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 was welcomed.
  • Emphasized that the TPF should deliver continually 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 set of specific trade outcomes that could be finalized for an inter-sessional TPF meeting to be held by mid-2022.

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