US agrees to ease rules for India export of mangoes, pomegranates

Wednesday 01st December 2021 06:14 EST

Following years of trust deficit on trade issues, the US agreed to ease rules for export of mangoes and pomegranates in return for India allowing shipment of American cherries and alfalfa hay, while sending out a message that both democracies are willing to remove hurdles for greater and faster strengthening of ties.

During the first Trade Policy Forum meeting in four years, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and US trade representative Katherine Tai identified 40 issues – 18 from American side and 22 from India - for time-bound resolution, amid indications Indian shrimp and table grapes and American pork may be next in line for swifter shipments at ports instead of getting caught in a maze of quality and standards checks.

Currently, testing norms are such as dussehri and langda mangoes can’t make it to American retail chains but with US hinting India’s oversight mechanism would be accepted, this may change. “The clear message was that the relationship should not be transactional but should be based on trust and understanding,” said a senior official.

Amid an intent to take the economic relationship to the next level, there was an undercurrent on extending the strategic ties at the level of Quad to an economic relationship as well, sources said, adding that Washington was responsive to providing preferential access for Indian goods under the Generalised System of Preferences, as and when the legislation is in place, a move that will help corner some of the space vacated by Chinese products.

The other good news was the acknowledgment of the need to strengthen relations on health-related goods and services, with the joint statement seeking to address India’s concerns over delay in US regulatory inspection of Indian pharma facilities.

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