World Economy

US Keen on Promoting Trade With India

US Keen on Promoting Trade With IndiaUS Keen on Promoting Trade With India

The United States wants to step up its trade dialogue with India, trade representative Michael Froman said, after the resolution of a global trade dispute paved the way for President Barack Obama to visit India.

Obama, who hosted Modi in Washington in September, will in January become the first US president to visit India twice, completing a remarkable warming in the relationship between the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies.

Direct contacts between Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month helped to end a deadlock that had prevented the World Trade Organization from implementing a $1 trillion package of reforms to global customs rules, World Bulletin reported.

“The breakthrough at the WTO could not have been possible without the direct and personal engagement of Prime Minister Modi and President Obama,” Froman told businessmen in New Delhi in a speech.

He expressed hope that the General Council of the 160-member WTO would approve a US-Indian agreement on food stockpiling and the broader Trade Facilitation Agreement, simultaneously, in the next few days.

In India for the first round of high-level trade talks since the breakthrough, Froman urged progress on key areas of US concern, such as intellectual property rights on pharmaceuticals and Hollywood movies.

“This pace of engagement is impressive, but shouldn’t be surprising for what President Obama declared the ‘defining partnership of the 21st century’,” Froman said.

“Our task is to build on our mutual interests, with mutual respect, and deliver on the promise of that partnership,” he said.

  Trade Policy Forum

The much-awaited India-US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) met here Tuesday after a gap of more than four years with both sides seeking to address outstanding issues concerning bilateral trade and investment.

Both sides have set a target of achieving $500 billion worth of trade in goods and services from the present $100 billion, The Business Standard reported Tuesday.

The meeting was chaired by minister of state for commerce and industry, Nirmala Sitharaman along with Michael Froman. The meeting, which took place here for over one and a half hour, was also attended by commerce secretary Rajeev Kher, DIPP secretary Amitabh Kant, additional secretary in commerce department JS Deepak and DIPP joint secretary DV Prasad among other.

“It was a very good meeting. They have understood our position. We will meet more often.... The dialogue will continue. It’s not that the dialogue will take place after four years gap. It will be more often. We have expressed all concerns and addressed their issues,” Kher said after the meeting.