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United States and India Discuss Key Trade Issues

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S.
Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab and India’s Minister
of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath met this week for the fifth
ministerial-level meeting of the United States-India Trade Policy Forum
(TPF).  The intensity of interaction within the different Focus Groups
demonstrates the importance of this dialogue to both governments. 
Consequently, the TPF has been able to address a wide range of issues, at policy
as well as operational levels, leading to a number of initiatives which have
expanded and deepened ties.


”The U.S. – India Trade Policy Forum
offers an essential venue to move the dialogue forward on trade matters of
importance to both countries,” said Ambassador Schwab.  “The Trade Policy
Forum has advanced discussions on a potential bilateral investment treaty and
facilitated agreements to provide market access for items of interest to both
sides.”


Minister Nath said, “We have been able to resolve a
variety of issues and find mutually acceptable solutions through a dialogue
under this Forum.  This milestone by milestone approach should be
maintained to ensure continued progress, including in our bilateral discussions
on Social Security totalization which were initiated in December 2007, and in
our efforts to foster private sector collaboration between
professions.”


The delegations also met for the second time with the
U.S.-India Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) to the TPF.  The PSAG
presented its Vision Statement on key policy areas on which the Governments of
India and the United
States could enhance their engagement and
further bolster the U.S.-India economic partnership (see attached).  The
PSAG’s first meeting took place in New
York on September 24, 2007.


On February 20, Ambassador Schwab gave keynote remarks at
the “U.S.-India SME Summit: Leveraging Global Supply Chains and Integrating the
SME Community,” hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, U.S.-India
Business Council (USIBC), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
(FICCI) and the National Association of Manufacturers. 


On February 19, Ambassador Schwab and Minister Nath both
addressed a luncheon gathering at the Executives’ Club of Chicago and presided
over the launch of “Investing in America: The Indian Story,” an initiative by
the USIBC and the FICCI. 


Ambassador Schwab and Minister Nath also discussed the
Doha negotiations, agreeing that the
U.S. and India share a
commitment to conclude a successful Doha Round in 2008.


BACKGROUND:


The United States-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) is an
institutional arrangement between the two governments to discuss trade and
investment issues.  The TPF is a key element of the U.S.-India Economic
Dialogue, which was launched during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Dr.
Manmohan Singh to Washington in July 2005.  The last TPF
meeting was held during Ambassador Schwab’s visit to India in April
2007.

Ambassador Schwab and Minister Nath announced the
formation of the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) in April 2007.  The
PSAG was created to provide strategic direction to the TPF as the
United States and
India chart a path for enhanced
U.S.-Indian economic integration in the next five to ten years.  The PSAG’s
membership includes key voices in the United
States and India on international economic and
trade policy. U.S. representatives include: Ambassador Carla A. Hills, Former
U.S. Trade Representative, and currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of
Hills & Co.; Mr. C. Fred Bergsten, Director of the Pete G. Peterson
Institute for International Economics; Mr. John J. Castellani, President of the
Business Roundtable; and Mr. Ron Somers, President of the U.S. India Business
Council.  Representatives from India include Dr. V. Krishnamurthy,
Chairman, National Manufacturing Competitive Council; Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia,
Chairman, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations
(ICRIER); Mr. Sunil Mittal, President, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII);
Mr. Habil Khorakiwala, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and
Industry (FICCI).


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Note:  The attachment is the Vision Statement
approved and adopted by the PSAG, prepared for Ambassador Schwab
and Minister Nath, and provided to the U.S. and Indian government delegations during the
PSAG meeting in Chicago on Wednesday, February 20.