India, U.S. commit to linking economies across sectors

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India, U.S. commit to linking economies across sectors

  • Trade Policy Forum between India and the United States convened after a gap of four years.
  • Indo-US Trade Policy Forum decides to take economic ties to the next high level.
  • The United States and India committed to integrating their economies across sectors to harness the untapped potential of the bilateral relationship.

12th India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum

  • The 12th India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum was held in the Indian capital New Delhi, as both sides reaffirmed commitment to closer economic ties.
  • India's Commerce Minister and U.S. Trade Representative discussed issues for developing an ambitious, shared vision for the future of the trade relationship.
  • At the forum, India called for bilateral cooperation in the health sector, and expressed interest in a partnership with the United States in developing a pharmaceutical manufacturing base for augmenting global supply chains.
  • Both sides also agreed to work to resolve the market access for grapes from India, and for U.S. pork and pork products.
  • The two sides decided to activate working groups of the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) on agriculture, non-agriculture goods, services, investment, and intellectual property to meet frequently and address issues of mutual concern in a mutually beneficial manner.
  • The idea is to deliver tangible benefits to farmers and businesses of both countries by resolving outstanding market access issues.

Mutual market access

  • Discussions also held on enhancing market access for products such as distillers’ dried grains with solubles from the U.S. and resolving market access concerns for water buffalo meat and wild caught shrimp from India.
  • The Indian side has sought restoration of the GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) benefits by the U.S.

Totalisation Agreement

  • The Forum also agreed on the significance of negotiating a Social Security Totalization Agreement in the interest of workers from both sides, and pursuing further engagements for reaching such an agreement.
  • The totalisation agreement would allow workers from both countries to move their retirement savings, the lack of which particularly affects Indian IT workers in the U.S. who lose billions of dollars in statutory U.S. social security contributions that they cannot repatriate home.
  • India and the U.S. also discussed collaboration and constructive engagement in various multilateral trade bodies including the WTO and the G20 for achieving a shared vision of a transparent, rules-based global trading system among market economies and democracies.
  • The Forum also decided to find mutually agreed solutions on outstanding WTO disputes between the two countries.

Ethanol supply

  • The U.S. indicated an interest in supplying ethanol to India for its goal of 20% ethanol blending with petrol by 2025.
  • The two sides decided to partner with allies in developing a secure pharmaceutical manufacturing base and de-risk global supply chains in such critical sectors like health.
  • On the services front, the Forum discussed ways in which legal, nursing and accountancy services can facilitate growth in trade and investment, and sought to work together on electronic payment services and the digital economy.
  • India welcomed the recent decision by the U.S. to permit fully vaccinated Indians to travel there.
  • The two sides decided to continue engaging on visa issues to facilitate the movement of professionals, skilled workers, experts, and scientific personnel.

Bilateral trade

  • The bilateral trade between India and the US stood at $80.5 billion in 2020-21.
  • India has received $13. 8 billion foreign direct investment from the US during 2020-21.

About India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum

  • M/o Commerce & Industry, GoI and Office of the US Trade Representative are the nodal agencies and TPF is co-Chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister on the Indian side and USTR on the American side.
  • This is primarily designed to work for expanding bilateral trade and investment.
  • There are two working groups under TPF as under (i) Working Group on Intellectual Property, to be coordinated by DIPP and (ii) Working Group on Trade and Market Access, to be coordinated by DoC.
  • India-US Trade Policy has significantly grown since its inception in 2005.

Purpose of India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum

  • Facilitating Trade and Investment flow between India and USA.
  • Development and Implementing Trade Policies through Transparent Procedures that comply with International Obligations.
  • Fostering an environment conducive to technological collaboration and innovation.
  • Promoting Inclusive economic growth and job creation between India and USA.

Work Plan of India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum

  • The India-US Trade Policy Forum has five focus groups – agriculture, investment, innovation and creativity (intellectual property rights), services, and tariff and non-tariff barriers.