India and the United States have launched an initiative of integrating small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in a global supply chain, which would create new opportunities for US and Indian SMEs, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said today.
The minister expressed optimism that the growing trade and investment relations between the two countries will help the large firms in the dynamic US-India commercial relationship through greater public awareness, enhanced public-private collaboration, and a sharper focus on the benefits of large company and SME collaboration.
Addressing a group of US senators in the capital, Sharma said India and the US have already set up a Trade Policy Forum (TPF) to discuss trade and investment issues. The TPF, which is co-chaired by India's minister of commerce and industry and the US trade representative, discusses issues and concerns under five focus groups covering the areas of agriculture, tariff and non-tariff barriers, services, innovation and creativity and investment.
The two countries have also signed a framework agreement for facilitating trade and investment flows, developing and implementing trade policies through transparent procedures that comply with international obligations, foster an environment conducive to technological collaboration and innovation and promote inclusive economic growth and job creation in the United States and India.
Under the framework, the chairs of India-US TPF will convene the ministerial level Trade Policy Forum each year for a review of the work undertaken by the focus groups. The deputy chairs meet at least twice each year to review the work of the focus groups, identify possible new initiatives, address problems that may arise and prepare for the annual Trade Policy Forum meeting. Each focus group will consult as often as necessary but no less than twice per year, to advance their work.
Both the countries have agreed to work upon the India-US Technology Trade Agreement proposal on improving logistics infrastructure and services in India.