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India-USA Trade Policy Forum (TPF) 

  • IASbaba
  • November 24, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 

  • GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. 
  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • GS-2: International Relations 

India-USA Trade Policy Forum (TPF) 

Context: India – USA have reaffirmed their commitment to take economic relationship between the two countries to the next high level – to integrate the economies across sectors and relaunched the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) that was convened four years ago.

  • Instead of progress, there were setbacks, including raised import tariffs and the withdrawal of benefits to Indian exporters under the U.S.’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) which triggered retaliatory trade barbs.

Bilateral trade matters

  • Frequent Meetings: TPF Working Groups on agriculture, non-agriculture goods, services, investment, and intellectual property to be activated to meet frequently 
  • Robust growth in Trade: Both India and USA expressed satisfaction over the robust rebound in bilateral merchandise trade this year 2021 (January – September 2021), which showed almost 50% growth; bilateral merchandise trade in the current year poised to surpass US$ 100 billion mark.
  • Economic reforms rolled out by India including liberalization of FDI in the insurance sector, elimination of a retrospective provision in income tax, and launching of the “Single Window System” for facilitating investment helped relaunch TPF.
  • Multilateral Collaboration: Emphasis on Collaboration and constructive engagement in various multilateral trade bodies including the WTO, the G20 etc for achieving a shared vision of a transparent, rules-based global trading system among market economies and democracies will be part of cooperation in TPF.
  • Collaborating on Global Value Chain: Significance of creating resilient and secure supply chains and in this regards India and the United States may work with like-minded partners in developing secure supply chains in critical sectors of trade and technology.
  • Health Cooperation: India highlighted the importance of cooperation in health sector, and expressed interest in partnering with the U.S. and allies in developing a secure pharmaceutical manufacturing base for augmenting global supply chains. 
  • Business Cooperation: Emphasis on participation and collaboration of the private sector in both countries in building stronger linkages in critical sectors (including cyberspace, semiconductors, AI, 5G, 6G and future generation telecommunications technology), and supporting resilient and secure global supply chains.
  • IPR Protection: Significance of IP protection and enforcement for promotion of innovation as well as bilateral trade and investment in IP-intensive industries noted.
  • Agricultural Cooperation: Emphasis on tangible benefits to farmers and businesses of both countries by resolving outstanding market access issues through continuous engagement. 
    • Agreement on market access facilitation for mangoes and pomegranates, pomegranate arils from India, and cherries and alfalfa hay for animal feed from the United States. 
    • Agreed to work to resolve market access for grapes from India and pork/ pork products from USA.
    • Both sides to continue engagement on exploring enhanced market access for products including Distillers’ Dried Grains with Solubles from the US and market access for water buffalo meat and wild caught shrimp from India.

Future Work

  • Restoring GSP: India highlighted the significance of restoration of GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) benefits as it would help industries from both sides in integrating their supply chain efficiently.  United States noted it for suitable consideration.  
  • Service Sector:  Services including digital services has significant potential for increasing bilateral services trade and investment. India underlined the importance of movement of professional and skilled workers, students, investors and business travelers between both countries, as it contributes immensely to enhancing bilateral economic and technological partnership.
  • Social Security: Agreed on the significance of negotiating a Social Security Totalization Agreement in the interest of workers from both sides, and further engagement on pursuing such an agreement welcomed.

Conclusion

India & US finally emphasized that the TPF should deliver continually concrete outcomes to generate mutual confidence.

Connecting the dots:

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