At the India-US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) met in New Delhi on Tuesday, India and the US agreed to ease market access for mangoes and pomegranates from India, as well as cherries and alfalfa hay for animal feed from the US.
According to an official release issued by the Commerce & Industry Ministry on Tuesday, it was decided at the TPF, led by Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, to activate working groups on agriculture, non-agriculture goods, services, investment, and intellectual property, which would meet on a regular basis to address issues of mutual concern of both sides in a mutually beneficial manner.
GSP benefits are being restored
‘India emphasized the importance of restoring Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits because it would assist industries on both sides in efficiently integrating their supply chains. The United States took note of it for appropriate consideration,’ according to the release.
The GSP, which provided duty-free market access to Indian exporters of specific products into the United States, was withdrawn for India by the Trump administration.
As per the release, ‘there was an emphasis on tangible benefits to farmers and businesses in both countries by resolving outstanding market access issues through continuous engagement.’
Other items can now enter the market
The two also agreed to resolve market access problems for grapes, water buffalo meat, and wild-caught shrimp from India, as well as pork & pork products and distillers’ dried grains with solubles from the United States—issues that have been pending for quite some time.
Tai and Deputy Ambassador Sarah Bianchi are in New Delhi for a two-day official visit to meet with Goyal and attend the TPF, which last met in 2017.
The United States is one of India’s most important trading partners, with exports to the country valued at $51.62 billion and imports valued at $28.88 billion in 2020-21, resulting in a trade deficit of approximately $23 billion for the US.
Collaboration in the health sector
India emphasized the importance of collaboration in the health sector and expressed interest in collaborating with the United States and its allies to develop a secure pharmaceutical manufacturing base to supplement global supply chains.
On Monday, Tai told Goyal, government officials, and industry representatives that, despite its scope, bilateral trade between India and the US has never seemed to live up to its significant potential. ‘At USTR, we hear from our stakeholders on a regular basis about issues such as market access restrictions, high tariffs, unpredictable regulatory requirements, and limited digital trade measures.’ These are the issues on which we intend to make progress, and they will be at the top of my priority list while I am here,’ she said.
Goyal drew attention to the disparities in development between the two countries in his speech. ‘Our leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden have charged us with strengthening our economic ties and trade on the basis of transparency and fair trade. Of course, I am confident that while doing so, you will keep in mind the vastly different levels of prosperity among nations, as well as work with the shared vision for prosperity of all segments of society and the people of both our countries,’ he said.
The emphasis is on the private sector’s participation and collaboration in both countries in strengthening ties in critical sectors such as cyberspace, semiconductors, AI, 5G, 6G, and future generation telecommunications technology, as well as supporting resilient and secure global supply chains, according to the release.