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Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer welcomed Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sri Suresh Prabhu, for the annual U.S.-India Bilateral Trade Policy Forum (TPF). The Ministers and their delegations met to discuss a full agenda of bilateral trade issues.
“Our work under the Trade Policy Forum focused on achieving progress towards a more balanced trade relationship,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “U.S.-India trade has grown significantly in the last few years and has the potential to span every sector of the economy. To increase reciprocal trade, we will continue to seek to identify and address trade barriers related to goods, including manufactured and agriculture, services and intellectual property rights. The U.S. objective is to increase trade flows between our two countries and to decrease our bilateral trade deficit. I am confident that with continued work, we will be able to accomplish these goals.”
The United States pressed for strong outcomes across a number of areas, including non-science-based barriers to agricultural trade, continuing and new regulatory and technical barriers to trade that impact sales of U.S. high technology and other products, tariffs in a number of agricultural and industrial sectors, market access in services, and protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Ambassador Lighthizer also expressed concern about the $29.6 billion U.S. trade deficit with India, urging the Indian delegation to further liberalize the Indian economy to facilitate American exports.
Across many of these areas, both sides had differing views that could not be resolved immediately. However, there was emphasis that it was important to conduct discussions on these areas in the TPF and a commitment to redoubling efforts in the future across all areas. There was agreement that it is critical to continue strong engagement over the coming months in order to achieve concrete outcomes before the next TPF.