WASHINGTON D.C. - Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Karan Bhatia announced today the formation of a working group of U.S. and Indian legal experts as part of the ongoing work of the U.S. - India Trade Policy Forum. Ambassador Bhatia and his Indian counterpart, Commerce Secretary Gopal K. Pillai agreed on the formation of such a group during recent meetings in Delhi.
"Legal services are integral to today's complex, global economy. Indian Commerce Secretary Gopal Pillai and I agreed that establishing a Legal Services Working Group is a priority in our bilateral dialogue," said Ambassador Bhatia. "We are pleased that we have been able to move forward with the creation of the Working Group before the end of this year."
The mission of the Bilateral Working Group on Legal Services is to promote greater interaction between legal professionals in India and the United States and to facilitate trade in legal services between the two countries. The Working Group will be comprised of prominent legal professionals, including representatives of U.S. and Indian law firms, the American Bar Association and the Bar Council of India.
The establishment of a Bilateral Industry Working Group on Legal Services was identified as a priority of the U.S. - India Trade Policy Forum in 2006. The two countries agreed to exchange the names of Working Group participants by December 15, 2006, with a view to conducting initial meetings and the formulation of an agenda in the first months of 2007.
The U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum was launched during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Washington, DC, in July 2005. This ongoing dialogue is designed to deepen the relationship between the two countries by promoting greater trade and investment. The U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum is chaired by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and Indian Minister of Commerce Kamal Nath. The inaugural, ministerial session of the Forum was held in November 2005 in New Delhi. Subsequent ministerial sessions were in March 2006 in New Delhi and in June 2006 in Washington, DC. Additional meetings at the Deputy level were held in February 2006 in Washington, DC, and in New Delhi in May and November 2006.