India and US target specific Trade Policy Forum outcome by mid-2022


India and the United States hope to achieve “specific trade results” by mid-2022 under the Trade Policy Forum which will be reconvened after a four-year hiatus.

The two nations will iron out outstanding bilateral trade issues through regular engagement in the forum. Under the TPF, working groups on five broad areas, including agriculture, non-agricultural goods, services, investment and intellectual property, will be reactivated by March 2022 to address issues of interest. common.

The two countries also discussed their views on potential “targeted tariff cuts”.

On Tuesday, India and the United States held the 12th TPF India-United Ministerial Level Meeting in the nation’s capital. It was co-chaired by Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai.

“Ministers recognized the tangible benefits for Indian and American farmers and businesses, mutually resolving some outstanding market access issues through increased bilateral engagement. Both sides also agreed to continue working to develop the bilateral trade in agricultural and food products through the TPF working group on agricultural products and is committed to holding technical dialogues on animal health, plant health, food safety and other technical issues in 2022,” a joint statement said Tuesday.

The relaunch of the forum comes at a time when the United States has become India’s biggest trading partner, overtaking China. Bilateral merchandise trade in the current year is poised to surpass the $100 billion mark, according to the joint statement. TPF’s importance has also grown as the US government made it clear earlier this year that it was not willing to consider signing a mini trade deal with India at this time.

The United States is also India’s largest export market, and outbound shipments worth $52 billion were sent to the country in 2020-2021.

“The ministers underscored the importance of the TPF in building strong bilateral trade ties and strengthening bilateral economic relations for the benefit of workers in both countries,” according to a joint statement released by the countries.

The two countries are expected to work towards deeper bilateral cooperation on important issues such as digital trade, agriculture, the relationship between trade, labor and the environment, good regulatory practices and standards, and the assessment of the compliance.

Ministers also decided to finalize work on facilitating market access for mangoes and pomegranates, pomegranate arils from India, and cherries and alfalfa hay for animal feed from the United States. . For example, the United States agreed to work to complete India’s request for access to table grapes in the United States, and India agreed to work to finalize the mutually agreed export certificate to allow import American pork products.

India has also expressed interest in restoring its beneficiary status under the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The Trump administration in 2019 withdrew India from the GSP scheme, special trade treatment for developing countries due to high trade barriers in India. India was the largest GSP beneficiary in 2018.

“The United States noted that this could be considered, as justified, in relation to the eligibility criteria determined by the United States Congress,” the statement said.

Ministers also exchanged information on the relationship between trade and labour, stressing the importance of trade in creating jobs and opportunities for the working population.

“During the TPF meeting, Ambassador Tai outlined key elements of the Biden-Harris administration’s worker-centric trade policy, highlighting the potential for the United States and India, as vibrant, market-oriented democracies, to cooperate more broadly as strategic partners to implement trade policies that benefit workers in both countries,” according to a statement shared by the USTR.

Goyal and Tai considered this sector to be of particular importance in the context of work on resilient supply chains and the importance of health-related goods and services in the US-India trade relationship. . In this regard, the United States acknowledged India’s concerns over delays resulting from Covid-19, in US regulatory inspections of Indian pharmaceutical facilities.

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