United States and India Conclude Ninth Trade Policy Forum
U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman and Minister of Commerce and Industry of India Nirmala Sitharaman met in Washington last week for the ninth ministerial-level meeting of the United States and India Trade Policy Forum (TPF). The two governments reviewed substantive progress achieved in deepening bilateral trade and investment goals in 2015 and discussed planned engagement for 2016 that can promote economic growth and job creation in both India and the United States.
Sitharaman and Froman discussed and exchanged views on a range of trade and investment issues, including agriculture, trade in services and goods, and intellectual property.
Agriculture. Both countries agreed to follow up on exploring the possibility of enhanced market access on identified agricultural products. Both countries recognize the need to establish science- and risk-based regulations and procedures that are based on international standards and guidelines and agreed to share best practices.
Goods and services. India and the U.S. discussed efforts to promote foreign investment in key services sectors. Froman welcomed India’s amended Insurance Act that increased foreign investment in the insurance sector from 26 percent to 49 percent.
Sitharaman and Froman pledged to explore further mechanisms, including technical discussions, to reduce trade costs across the health sector supply chain, including in pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The U.S. noted the need for India to address the issue of export subsidies in the textiles sector.
Froman praised reforms made by the Indian government in 2015 to facilitate cross-border trade by reduction and simplification of paper and procedural requirements for export and import, and liberalization in FDI policy, especially in the defense and rail infrastructure sectors.
India and the United States discussed their efforts to increase supply chain connectivity and implement customs single-window clearance systems that will benefit all manufacturing activities in both countries.
Intellectual Property. Both countries emphasized the role of robust and balanced intellectual property rights protection in fostering creativity, promoting innovation, and attracting investment, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders including the public. Sitharaman and Froman reiterated the goal of ensuring the poorest populations in India and the U.S. have access to quality healthcare, and committed to identifying ways in which trade and innovation policies can enhance access to quality health and affordable medicines.
Froman welcomed the efforts of the Government of India to prepare a National IP Policy and constituting an “IPR Think Tank.” The think tank followed an extensive and transparent process to solicit comments from stakeholders. Sitharaman reiterated India’s on-going efforts to strengthen the IP regime in India through measures like increasing technical manpower and streamlining procedures.
The United States and India agreed to deepen cooperation on copyright, recognizing the shared interest of the largest entertainment industries in the world to promote and protect their artistic and creative content.