India, US explore trade, investment opportunities

February 23rd, 2008 - 11:51 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 23 (IANS) India and the US have discussed key trade issues including a potential bilateral investment treaty, market access for items of interest to both and fostering private sector collaboration between professions. Trade and investment ties were discussed by Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and US Trade Representative (USTR) Susan C. Schwab Feb 19 at the fifth ministerial-level meeting of the US-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) in Chicago.

Kamal Nath and Schwab also “discussed the Doha negotiations, agreeing that the US and India share a commitment to conclude a successful Doha Round in 2008″, a statement issued by the USTR and Indian embassy in Washington Friday said.

“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,” it said.

“The US-India Trade Policy Forum offers an essential venue to move the dialogue forward on trade matters of importance to both countries,” said 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,” she added.

Kamal 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 totalisation which were initiated in December 2007 and in our efforts to foster private sector collaboration between professions,” he said.

The US-India Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) to the TPF presented its vision statement on key policy areas on which the governments of India and the US could enhance their engagement and further bolster the US-India economic partnership. The PSAG held its first meeting in New York Sep 24, 2007.

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

Kamal Nath and Schwab both addressed a luncheon gathering Feb 19 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.

The TPF is a key element of the US-India Economic Dialogue, which was launched during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington in July 2005.

The last meeting of the TPF, an institutional arrangement between the two governments to discuss trade and investment issues, was held during Schwab’s visit to India in April 2007 when the formation of the PSAG was announced.

The PSAG was created to provide strategic direction to the TPF as US and India chart a path for enhanced US-Indian economic integration in the next five to 10 years. The PSAG’s membership includes key voices in the US and India on international economic and trade policy.

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