WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath met today for the third Ministerial-level meeting of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF). Ambassador Schwab and Minister Nath agreed on a number of initiatives to strengthen and deepen the bilateral trading relationship. With India already among the United States’ fastest growing major bilateral trade relationships, the cooperative steps endorsed today will serve to further trade and investment, with the goal of doubling two-way trade in three years. Ambassador Schwab and Minister Nath also discussed the Doha negotiations, agreeing that the U.S. and India share a commitment to conclude a successful, far reaching Doha Round by the end of 2006.
“Under the Trade Policy Forum we continue to make steady progress on key issues to improve the bilateral trade and investment climate,” said Ambassador Schwab. “We remain committed to doubling bilateral trade over the next three years, and improving the regulatory, customs and intellectual property protection climate is key.”
Minister Nath said, “The Trade Policy Forum has, within a short time emerged as a very effective forum for the two sides to enhance bilateral trade and investment. It was encouraging to see both sides engaged in intensive discussions at the expert level on a variety of issues of mutual interest.”
The United States and India agreed to a number of actions, including:
- Cooperation on an action plan and technical assistance to promote innovation, creativity and technological advancement by providing a vibrant intellectual property rights regime;
- Initiation of a Bilateral Infrastructure Investment Program that will focus on identifying investment opportunities, incentives and challenges in key infrastructural sectors;
- Various steps to address several sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues including Indian mango exports to the United States and U.S. almond, wax covered fruit and wheat exports to India;
- Progress toward selecting participants for a working group on legal services to discuss market access and other relevant issues;
- Continued discussions on tariff structures to facilitate wine and spirits trade as well as discussions on emissions standards for large motorcycles; and
- The creation of a senior-level private sector adjunct to the Trade Policy Forum that will provide strategic direction, input and support to the TPF.
A listing of outcomes for the TPF will follow in a fact sheet.
The US-India Trade Policy Forum is an institutional arrangement between the two governments to discuss trade and investment issues. The Trade Policy Forum (TPF) was launched during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Washington, DC, in July 2005. The inaugural, ministerial session of the Forum was held in November 2005 in New Delhi, the second session was in February 2006 in Washington, DC. Additional meetings at the Deputy level were held in March 2006 in New Delhi and again when Deputy USTR Karan Bhatia led a 25 member US Government delegation to New Delhi on May 30, 2006.