India, US to integrate economies across sectors
24 November 2021
India and the United States have decided to integrate the economies across sectors and move towards securing and ambitious future for trade relations between the two strategic partners and democracies.
Co-chairing the India-US Trade Policy Forum meeting on Wednesday, India’s minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal and US trade representative Katherine Tai also reaffirmed their commitment to take bilateral economic relationship to the next high level..
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 23 November 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 24 September 2021 meeting.
India’s minister of commerce and industry, textiles, consumer affairs and food and public distribution, Piyush Goyal and US Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai co-chaired the TPF meeting.
The ministers recognised the importance of engaging in collaborative discussion on the full range of existing and emerging issues affecting trade relationship between the two countries. 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:
It was decided that TPF Working Groups on agriculture, non-agriculture goods, services, investment, and intellectual property will be activated to meet frequently in order to address issues of mutual concern of both side on a mutually beneficial manner.
The two sides 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 $100 billion mark.
The meeting emphasised the importance of establishing a conducive business environment and in this regard, economic reforms rolled out by India, including liberalisation of FDI in the insurance sector, elimination of a retrospective provision in income tax, and launching of the `Single Window System’ for facilitating investment were highlighted.
It wsac felt that collaboration and constructive engagement in various multilateral trade bodies, including the WTO, the G20 etc was needed for achieving a shared vision of a transparent, rules-based global trading system among market economies and democracies.
For this, creating resilient and secure supply chains will be of great significance and in this regard India and the United States may work with like-minded partners to develop secure supply chains in critical sectors of trade and technology.
India highlighted the importance of cooperation in health sector, and expressed interest in partnering with the US and allies in developing a secure pharmaceutical manufacturing base for augmenting global supply chains.
Emphasis was laid 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 was also laid on tangible benefits to farmers and businesses of both countries by resolving outstanding market access issues through continuous engagement.
The meeting agreed on facilitating market access for mangoes and pomegranates, pomegranate arils from India, and cherries and alfalfa hay for animal feed from the United States.
It was also agreed to work to resolve market access for grapes from India and pork/ pork products from USA.
Both sides decided 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.
They also noted the significance of IP protection and enforcement for promotion of innovation as well as bilateral trade and investment in IP-intensive industries.
India highlighted the significance of restoration of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits as it would help industries from both sides in integrating their supply chain efficiently. United States noted it for suitable consideration.
They discussed the importance of services, including digital services, and the significant potential for increasing bilateral services trade and investment, while also underlining 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.
The meeting agreed on the significance of negotiating a Social Security Totalisation Agreement in the interest of workers from both sides, and welcomed further engagement on pursuing such an agreement.
It was emphasised that the TPF should deliver continually concrete outcomes to generate mutual confidence.
The 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 finalised for an inter-sessional TPF meeting to be held by mid-2022.