India, US vow to boost trade ties, focus on supply chain

Wednesday 24th November 2021 05:24 EST

India and the US vowed to improve their trade ties and “take it to the next level” with closer partnership on supply chains flagged as a key thrust area.

“At USTR, we hear frequently from our stakeholders on issues that will be familiar to those of you involved in moving goods and services between our two countries: Market access restrictions, high tariffs, unpredictable regulatory requirements, and restrictive digital trade measures. These are issues where we need to make progress and they will be on the top of my list while I’m here,” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said during her maiden trip to India to revive the Trade Policy Forum dialogue after a four-year hiatus.

The Trade Policy Forum, which is a ministerial-level engagement, is meant to remove frictions and identify new areas for growth. Visas, the Totalisation Agreement and market access for some of its farm products is among key priority items on India’s wishlist, while the US has been demanding lower tariffs for its products, doing away with local production mandates as well as easier data norms.

While the government is also looking to tap American investors for funds in key sectors, issues on the table at next week’s WTO ministerial meeting are also expected to figure during meetings between commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and Tai.

Observing that the world looked at India as a trusted partner, Goyal said that India’s competitive advantages of cost, skilled manpower and huge market combined with US’s innovation and investment can become a winning partnership among natural friends. Goyal said India and the US have realised the necessity of diversifying critical supply chains. “I’m also looking forward to discussing how further collaboration on worker-centric policies can benefit our trade relationship,” Tai said.

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