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U.S. visit successful: Sharma

A file photo of Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma. Photo: V.V. Krishnan

A file photo of Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma. Photo: V.V. Krishnan  

Touching upon the outcome of a wide range of trade and investment related interactions between India and the United States Industry Minister Anand Sharma, on Thursday said, “I believe through these meetings we have been able to build the groundwork of an excellent trade and commercial outcome for the forthcoming visit of President Obama to India.”

A key achievement that came during this visit to the U.S. was the “Framework for Cooperation on Trade and Investment,” which was signed by Mr. Sharma and the U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk on Wednesday. The agreement aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation between India and the U.S., building on rapid growth between the two countries in recent years, according to an official statement.

The signing of the Framework and the announcement of the Bilateral Cooperation on Small- and Medium-Enterprise Development came during the meeting of the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) which was convened in Washington this week.

Addressing the press in Washington Mr. Sharma said “My meetings have been useful, I can term it as a successful visit because we have taken forward what we had discussed at the Indo-U.S. Trade Policy Forum which had met in New Delhi in the third week of October 2009.”

India and the U.S. had then agreed to negotiate and finalise the Framework and undertake a number of initiatives for increasing opportunities for private sector partnerships “in infrastructure, green technologies, geo-technologies, innovation, creating awareness on IPR; also for bilateral cooperation in energy, in information technology, environmental services industries and working empower women and disadvantaged groups, and small and medium enterprise development,” Mr. Sharma said.

Underscoring the focus on Small and Medium Enterprises, he added, “Ron Kirk and I have also announced the launch of an Indo-U.S. initiative integrating U.S. and Indian small businesses into the global supply chain. This initiative aims to expand trade and job creating opportunities for the U.S. and Indian small and medium sized companies.”

Industrialist and President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Venu Srinivasan said to The Hindu that at the outset it may be preferable that this initiative focus on medium-sized enterprises only, given the high transactions costs of international joint ventures, something that “smaller companies may not have the wherewithal for”.

Mr. Sharma also emphasised India’s position on the need to take forward the ongoing Doha Round of the WTO. He said that he had impressed upon the officials he met in the U.S. the need to “enhance global trade by putting in place an ambitious but also fair and equitable multilateral trade regime which would strengthen global commerce at a time when the world was challenged by severe economic crises.” Even the most conservative studies of trade place the annual addition to GDP that would result from the creation of a WTO-based trade regime at $600 billion”, he added.

Agriculture also featured prominently in Mr. Sharma’s meetings in Washington, wherein he said India considered “agricultural cooperation and food security… important for our bilateral engagement and significantly important for the world considering the fact that in the first decade of the 21 st century there is hunger, there are more people globally who have been pushed into the net of hunger because of what has happened in the last two years.”

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:16:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/U.S.-visit-successful-Sharma/article16577016.ece

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