India, US agree to revive trade talks

18 Jun 2009


India and the US have agreed to revive the dialogue on trade issues and to focus on resolving them to the extent feasible. The two also welcomed the move towards resumption of Doha talks and agreed to work together towards resolving outstanding issues, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said.

Speaking at the annual summit of the US India Business Council (US-IBC) at Washington last evening, Sharma observed that the existing level of trade and economic engagement was not commensurate with the potential, in the light of India's far-reaching economic liberalisation.

The minister emphasised that there were numerous opportunities that could be harnessed in the bilateral economic relationship even against the background of the global downturn.

Citing the findings of the study entitled `Contribution of the Indian industry to the US economy', prepared for the India Brand Equity Foundation, which he released at the summit, the minister said that during the period 2004-07, the Indian industry had contributed $105 billion to the US economy and created 300,000 jobs.

India and the US, he said, were partners in progress and could together shape the 21st century. The summit was also addressed by secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US commerce secretary Gary Locke and US trade representative (USTR) Ambassador Ron Kirk and senior US government officials.

Sharma is scheduled to meet US commerce secretary Gary Locke tomorrow. He is also scheduled to deliver an address at the Peterson Institute for International Economics on `India in a Globalised World'.

During her interaction with Sharma, Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration was keen to work on developing a more comprehensive and intensive bilateral relationship with India.

Sharma said that while a perfect solution may be elusive, it should be possible to find a fair solution acceptable to all parties, while keeping in mind that development was central to the Doha Round. He also informed Clinton about the programmes being undertaken by the Indian government to stimulate domestic demand while providing a social security net to the most vulnerable sections of the society, especially through implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme. The minister stated that the government was looking forward to the forthcoming visit of secretary of state to India.

Later, Sharma also interacted with the USTR and discussed about the Doha Round negotiations. Both discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest and explored the ways and means for increasing bilateral trade and investment.

Sharma invited Ambassador Kirk to visit India for the meeting of the G 20 trade ministers as well as for bilateral discussions.

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