India, U.S. to take up ‘high tariff’, visa curbs in Washington meet

India and the U.S. are slated to hold high-level talks this week to boost bilateral trade and investment. On the agenda of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF), scheduled to be held in Washington DC on October 26, are ways to iron out irritants including ‘visa curbs’ of the U.S. and India’s ‘high tariffs’ on manufactured products and ‘restrictions’ on e-commerce, as well as steps to expedite the conclusion of negotiations on a bilateral social security pact (or totalisation agreement).

The TPF, which is the main forum to resolve bilateral trade and investment issues, is also likely to take up the ‘challenges’ that American innovative industries face due to India’s ‘weak’ Intellectual Property Rights regime. It will also discuss the ‘non-tariff barriers’ of the U.S. that are adversely impacting India’s agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industrial exports.

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu will meet U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and a few other senior Trump administration officials including U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. He will also hold discussions with U.S Congress members, business leaders and industry bodies such as the US-India Business Council (USIBC). Both countries aim to increase bilateral goods and services trade to $500 billion soon, from about $115 billion in 2016.

State-level focus

Industry bodies including USIBC and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) are working with the governments of both the countries on mechanisms to ensure greater engagement at the State-level, instead of focusing entirely on the Central/Federal-level discussions.

As part of such new initiatives, the leadership of major U.S. companies including Boeing, Merck, Medtronic, Oracle, Cargill, GE Healthcare, Adobe and Facebook under the aegis of the USISPF, had on Monday, met with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to ‘explore opportunities for partnership in the state’.

Vasant Subramanyan, National President, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce said in a statement that the U.S. should respond to the initiative of the Indian administration to import crude oil from America for the first time after 40 years as well as India’s huge imports of U.S. defence equipment, by ensuring that American companies participated in the Indian government’s initiatives including ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’. The U.S. firms, including the small and medium ones, should increase investments in India in sectors like medical devices, hybrid mobility, telecom, high speed rail locomotives, cyber security, renewable energy, data mining and analytics, he said. Besides, the U.S. should consider relocating research and development centres to India in artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, design engineering and Internet of Things, where India’s highly trained technical manpower can blend with U.S. technologies to create newer paradigms, he added.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 10:57:04 AM |

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