India, US officials meet tomorrow on next month’s trade forum

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New Delhi | Published: September 19, 2017 3:31:20 PM

A US official delegation will hold discussions with Indian counterparts here tomorrow on issues related to agriculture, trade, investment promotion and intellectual property, a commerce ministry official said.

trade and industry, india trade, us trade, america trade, trade and commerce, trade forum, india newsThe deliberations will also prepare the ground for the forthcoming commercial dialogue between the two countries. (Reuters)

A US official delegation will hold discussions with Indian counterparts here tomorrow on issues related to agriculture, trade, investment promotion and intellectual property, a commerce ministry official said. “This is a preparatory meeting for the ministerial level Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meet which is expected in Washington next month. The dates are yet to be finalised for that,” the official said. The deliberations will also prepare the ground for the forthcoming commercial dialogue between the two countries.

While the TPF meeting is chaired by the US Trade Representative (USTR), the commercial dialogue is led by the US commerce secretary. From the India side, both the deliberations are chaired by the commerce and industry minister. “This time, we are trying to hold both these meeting at the same time,” said the official, who did not want to be named. In both the meetings, visa related issues are expected to figure prominently. India has time and again raised this matter as domestic professionals particularly from the IT sector have flagged concerns over America’s visa regime.

After the Trump administration took charge, this will be the first formal interaction between trade authorities of the two sides. The last meeting was held in October here. The TPF was set up in 2005 to expand bilateral trade and investment. There are four working groups under this forum: intellectual property, promoting investment in manufacturing, services and agriculture. In the previous meeting, both sides had committed to continue engagement to resolve issues related to visa, movement of professionals and totalisation pact.

Under this agreement, professionals of both will be exempted from social security taxes when they go to work for a short period in the other country. The bilateral trade between the two counties increased to USD 64.51 billion in 2016-17, from USD 62.11 billion in the previous fiscal. However, foreign direct investment from the US into India dipped to USD 2.37 billion in 2016-17 from USD 4.19 billion in 2015-16.

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