India and the U.S. have agreed to redouble efforts to iron out key trade and economic differences between the two countries before President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi early November.
“We have underscored to the USTR and the team the need to now further deepen and diversify the economic relationship and that should be the objective flowing out of the forthcoming visit of President Obama to India,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said.
In a joint statement after the conclusion of the seventh Indo-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting here, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Mr. Sharma asked their officials to redouble their efforts towards addressing unresolved issues in an expeditious manner.
“Recognising that more can and should be done to strengthen our bilateral trade and investment relationship, we instructed our Focus Group leads and other staff to redouble their efforts, particularly in the coming weeks before President Obama’s visit to India, to take concrete steps towards resolving several issues of concern and to keep senior officials regularly informed of the results of those efforts,” the joint statement said.
Mr. Sharma and Mr. Kirk said the Trade Policy Forum gave them the opportunity to focus together on the state of the burgeoning U.S.-India trade and investment relationship, which is becoming an increasingly significant factor in the economic life and prosperity of the two countries, as well as in the global economy.
“We held comprehensive discussions on a wide range of issues, identifying areas for future constructive engagement between the two trading partners. In doing so, we noted our shared goals of bringing growth and prosperity to our two peoples,” the joint statement said.
“At the same time, we were also able to exchange concerns on issues where we differ, recognising that such issues are a natural part of growing trade and investment linkages between economies as dynamic as those of India and the United States,” it said.
The joint statement was particularly appreciative of the input provided by the Private Sector Advisory Group and the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-India SME Forum.
“Both of these institutions serve to remind us that — just as in the domestic economy — it is private enterprises, and especially those that are small and medium-sized, that are key to maximising the trade and investment flows that provide sustained employment, higher incomes, and other critical economic benefits,” Mr. Sharma and Mr. Kirk said in the joint statement.
“We firmly believe that this session of the TPF has moved our relationship in the direction of realising those benefits, and look forward to continued cooperation to this end in the coming year,” they said.
Later talking to a group of Indian journalists, Mr. Sharma said the bilateral trade despite the downturn has been healthy.
“At one stage it crossed $ 39 billion. This year we hope that the trade between U.S. and India would do much better that what we did last year primarily because of the economic downturn, which did affect export and import for this country as well as India,” he noted.