Trade officials of India and the U.S. are expected to meet here soon to prepare the groundwork for the ministerial level meeting of the Trade Policy Forum (TPF).

“Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR) expected to travel to India to prepare groundwork for the upcoming Ministerial Trade Policy Forum meeting,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said in her tweet.

Deputy USTR Wendy Cutler will meet Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher.

The U.S.-India TPF is an inter-agency collaboration led by the USTR. It is the principal trade dialogue between the countries.

It has five focus groups: Agriculture, Investment, Innovation and Creativity (intellectual property rights), Services, and Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers.

USTR Michael Froman on Thursday called up Ms. Sitharaman and the two talked about ways to further strengthen the relations on the economic front.

The USTR talked about the TPF, which has not met for quite some time.

In recent months, the U.S. has increased its attack against India’s intellectual property regime and safety issues related to domestic pharmaceutical sector. The American pharma sector had alleged that the Indian IPR laws discriminate against U.S. companies and violate global norms.

The USTR in its Special 301 report had kept India out of the priority list, but has said that they would do an ‘out-of-cycle’ review of India’s IPR regime.

At present, bilateral trade is around $100 billion. The U.S.-India Business Council had said bilateral trade between the countries could touch $500-billion mark over the next one decade.

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