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U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum: Opening Remarks of Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative

Remarks by Ambassador Demetrios Marantis
Deputy United States Trade Representative

September 21, 2010
Opening of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum
Washington, DC

*As Prepared for Delivery*

"We welcome your delegation to Washington. I’m pleased to see Secretary Khullar again after our productive meeting in New Delhi two months ago. We are delighted to host you for this important Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting.

"We should view this meeting as a forerunner to President Obama’s upcoming visit to India. The wide range of topics our Focus Groups have been discussing attests to the depth and breadth of our economic relationship.

"And we’re looking at ways to extend our cooperation into new areas. Back in March, Minister Sharma and Ambassador Kirk signed a new U.S.-India Framework for Trade and Investment. This Framework serves as an ambitious statement of shared objectives for the trade relationship and how this Forum will be the vehicle for accomplishing those objectives.

"Under the Framework, we agreed to collaborate in areas such as infrastructure development, information and communications technology (ICT), energy and environmental services, health care, and education services. We also agreed to do more to help our small and medium-sized companies to access each other’s markets and create tie-ups with each other.

"As a result of these commitments, we have initiated discussions within the TPF’s Services Focus Group to develop joint principles to enhance trade in ICT services. We look forward to working with you in the coming months to advance this project. The ICT sectors in both of our countries have acted as important drivers for economic growth, and are poised to take on an even more important role due to continued technological advances.

"We’re also working to help bring our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) together: this afternoon, the U.S.-India Business Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have organized the first U.S.-India SME Forum. Some 30 Indian SMEs will be represented, as will a large number of U.S. companies. I look forward to addressing this event later on today.

"Meanwhile, our Private Sector Advisory Group has been forging ahead to develop for our consideration some proposals for ways we can take our trade and investment relationship to a more advanced level.

"The past two years have been difficult ones for the global economy. There are now a few positive signs from our economy, and India’s is still expanding, with 9.4 percent growth projected for this year. Now more than ever, we need to use the Trade Policy Forum to draw on our strengths as trading partners and work together to overcome our weaknesses. That way, our companies will be able to benefit from a more welcoming business climate in the pursuit of ever-increasing trade and investment opportunities.

"But meeting such a goal requires some real action on addressing the issues, both old and new, on the TPF agenda. Our relationship has reached a level of maturity in which I believe we can be very candid with each other about our concerns and differences. Yet I also believe we can agree that trade is not a zero-sum game; and that even without direct quid-pro-quos, solutions to our trade issues can be win-win.

"I hope we can keep this in mind as we prepare for President Obama’s visit, and in particular, as we take concrete steps in the intervening weeks to be able to report some positive outcomes by the time of that visit."