India, U.S. discuss ways to boost trade, investments ties at TPF meet

India is also seeking fast-tracking American health regulator's USFDA inspections, or audit of domestic pharma firms

January 12, 2024 10:11 pm | Updated 10:11 pm IST - New Delhi

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai during the 14th TPF meet.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai during the 14th TPF meet. | Photo Credit: X@PiyushGoyal

India and the U.S. on January 12 discussed ways to further boost trade and investment ties between the two countries during the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meet in New Delhi.

The 14th TPF meet was co-chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai.

"Amidst productive deliberations, both sides reiterated their commitment to enhance trade and investment ties for adding further momentum to the growing India-U.S. partnership," Mr. Goyal said in a post on social media platform X.

Also Read | India-U.S. relationship in 2023: Three steps forward, one step back

Officials had on January 11 said India would raise a number of issues with the U.S., such as inking social security pact, and greater market access for products like mangoes and pharma in America during the TPF meet.

India has also planned to raise issues pertaining to delay in visa; increasing exports of table grapes, pharma goods, and marine products like wild caught fish and shrimp; reinstating the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status to India; and export control regulations for high-tech products and technologies.

Social security, or totalisation agreement, is a long-pending demand of the country, as it will provide social security to Indian professionals in America. This would eliminate dual social security deduction, both in the home country and in the nation where an employee works.

Under this, an expatriate in either country need not contribute to the social security scheme of the host country.

It will benefit a number of Indians, particularly from the IT sector, who are working in America and paying social security but are unable to get any benefit out of it.

India is also seeking fast-tracking American health regulator's USFDA inspections, or audit of domestic pharma firms.

United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval is required to sell medicines in the U.S. market. Before giving the approval, the USFDA authorities visit premises of manufacturing units for checking quality standards.

The last TPF meeting was held in Washington in January 2023.

Also Read | India, U.S. decision to end WTO disputes to help boost bilateral trade: Experts

TPF is a platform to resolve trade and investment issues between the two countries. It has five focus groups — agriculture, investment, innovation, and creativity (intellectual property rights), services, and tariff and non-tariff barriers.

The U.S. is the largest trading partner of India. America accounts for about 20% of India's total exports in goods and is a key market for services sectors like IT.

The bilateral trade between the countries has increased to $129.4 billion in 2022-23 from $120 billion in 2021-22. India received $6 billion in foreign direct investment from the U.S. in 2022-23.

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