US offers to open market for Indian mangoes and grapes, pushes its GM exports

21 October 2016

The United States has agreed to follow up on India's request for exploring the possibility of enhanced market access on identified agricultural products and welcomed India's increased shipments of mangoes and pomegranates to the United States in 2016.

At the US-India Trade Policy Forum meeting in New Delhi, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitaraman also agreed to discuss US concerns regarding market access for dairy products and genetically-modified products and licensing issues.

The United States trade representative Michael Froman agreed to a timely review of the information submitted by export of grapes from India. The US also agreed to further collaboration to facilitate Indian rice and honey exports.

Discussion of mandatory package size requirements for pre-packaged foods for some items in India will continue in 2017.

Subsequent to the receipt of additional information from the United States, India agreed for a timely review of the request for export of US cherries and alfalfa hay.

India also acknowledged the receipt of the US proposal on certificate for pork exports to India and Form 9060-5 recently submitted and agreed for a quick examination of the request.

The two countries discussed regulation relating to end-use information for boric acid, imported and domestic, used for non-insecticidal purposes.

Given the countries' mutual interest in boosting farmer income and ensuring consumer welfare, both sides agreed to deepen collaboration on best practices that can benefit both farmers and consumers.

Trade in goods and services

Sitharaman and Froman highlighted the important role of the service sector in India and the United States, and the significant potential for increasing bilateral services trade and investment. Towards this the two countries discussed efforts to promote foreign investment in key services sectors. Both sides stressed the need to explore policy measures that would facilitate enhanced mutual ties in service sectors. They also reviewed technical engagement that took place in 2016.

The ministers agreed that the TPF has greatly strengthened US-India engagement on bilateral trade, increased trade and enhanced the overall economic relationship. The working of the high level working group on intellectual property and the manufacturing dialogue that Prime Minister Modi and President Obama launched under the TPF, has gained momentum with regular ministerial meetings in 2014, 2015 and 2016, supported by inter-ministerial work of established working groups on agriculture, trade in services and trade in goods, promoting investment in manufacturing, and intellectual property.

The ministers also acknowledged that India issued a National Intellectual Property Policy, liberalised foreign direct investment (FDI) in various sectors, and reduced customs processing time, and that the United States ratified the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and advanced implementation of its single window as part of the initiative.

The India-US Trade Policy Forum meeting ended on Thursday with both sides agreeing to continue their efforts for exploring possibilities for opening up the markets as well as expand share of existing trade to each other's territory.

While welcoming the success of the TPF to date, and that two-way bilateral goods and services trade reached $109 billion in 2015, the ministers recognised that for economies of their size, a great deal of potential remains.

Sharing a desire to increase bilateral trade in goods and services, the two governments reviewed substantive progress achieved in deepening bilateral trade and investment in 2016, and discussed planned engagement for 2017 which can further promote economic growth and job creation in both India and the United States. 

Sitharaman and Froman discussed and exchanged views on a range of trade and investment issues, particularly on agriculture, trade in services and trade in goods, promoting investment in manufacturing, and intellectual property. 

The co-chairs of the respective work sessions briefed Sitharaman and Froman on the outcomes of their discussions and presented agreed upon work plans for continued engagement in these areas in 2017. The Indian minister and the US trade representative also discussed the status of Indian and US trade agreements with other countries and ways to ensure that bilateral trade and investment between India and the United States can continue to grow.

Both countries noted the importance attached to the TPF by Prime Minister Modi and President Obama, and its potential to increase bilateral trade and investment in a manner that supports economic growth, development, and job creation.

Both sides agreed that creating a transparent, predictable and open business environment that reduces administrative burden and protects innovation is essential for attracting investment, promoting manufacturing activity, and providing the confidence necessary for businesses to bring new technologies across borders.  They emphasized their commitment to facilitate efforts to exchange best practices among industry and government.

Both countries expressed their desire to implement reforms that promote the ease of doing business and attract investment in manufacturing, emphasizing the benefits of policies that facilitate open market production and sourcing decisions.

Both countries also took note of the recommendations by the U.S.-India CEO Forum held in August, 2016 and expressed their desire to take appropriate action on these recommendations.

They proposed to convene the eleventh round of the TPF in the United States in 2017.

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