Indian Mangoes to enter US market this season - Mr. Kamal Nath and Ms. Susan Schwab announce formation of US-India Private sector advisory group on trade policy
April 13, 2007
(Press Information Bureau)
Sixth Ministerial US-India trade policy meeting held
Indian mangoes will enter the US market this season and the first export consignment of Indian mangoes for USA is expected to leave later this month. Both India and the United States had expressed happiness over this market opening for a major Indian agricultural product at the Sixth Ministerial level meeting of the US-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) which was held here today under the chairmanship of Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Ms. Susan Schwab, United States Trade Representative (USTR). The progress made by the US and India on key bilateral issues was reviewed at the meeting.
USTR Ms. Schwab and Shri Kamal Nath also announced the formation of a Private Sector Advisory Group of prominent US and Indian trade experts who will provide strategic recommendations and insights into the US-India Trade Policy Forum. “The U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum is a critical instrument for advancing bilateral trade and fostering investment. It is our hope that that Private Sector Advisory Group will infuse our very productive existing dialogue with new ideas to enhance the bilateral trade and investment environment”, Ms. Schwab said. Shri Kamal Nath said: “The Private Sector Advisory Group being an independent think tank would prove to be a valuable channel for giving the private sector perspective and a new dimension to the ongoing dialogue which will provide fillip to US India bilateral trade and investments.”
Membership of the Private Sector Advisory Group includes key voices in the United State and India on international economic and trade policy. US representatives include: Ambassador Carla A. Hills, & Co; Mr. C. Fred Bergesten, Director of the Pete G. Peterson Institute for International Economics (IIE) Mr. John J. Castellani, President of the Business Roundtable; and Mr. Ron Somers, President of the U.S. India Business Council.
Expert representatives from India include Dr. V. Krishnamurthy, Chairman, National Manufacturing Competitive Council; Dr. Isher Judge Ahluwalia, Chairman, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)/Alternatively, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Director, ICRIER; Mr. R. Sheshasayee, President, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)/Alternatively, Lt. General S.S. Mehta, Director General, CII; Mr. Habil Khorakiwala, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)/ Alternatively, Dr. Amit Mitra, Secretary General, FICCI.
Shri Kamal Nath and Ms. Schwab noted with satisfaction that TPF had proved to be a unique bilateral mechanism and that there has been fair degree of progress in resolving issues. They noted that the Focus Groups on Agriculture, Tariff & Non-Tariff Barriers, Services, Innovations & Creativity and Investment was having regular meetings and have identified various bilateral trade issues of interest, as also monitoring progress on each of these issues on a regular basis. Both sides expressed satisfaction on the activities of these Focus Groups and noted that maintaining the current momentum was necessary to facilitate and promote greater trade and investment.
USA is India’s largest trade partner and foremost export destination accounting for 16.83% of India’s exports and around 6.34% of India’s imports. India accounts for only around 0.75% of the USA’s total exports and imports. While the USA’s exports to India have grown by over 35% in 2005-06, India’s exports to US have also shown a growth of over 26%. With the trend of increased trade volume continuing, India & US are confident of achieving the TPF objective of doubling India US Trade in 3 years time, Shri Kamal Nath and Ms. Schwab said.
The US on its part welcomed the increase in FDI cap in Telecom Sector to 74% and hoped that US corporations would help in further development of the telecom sector in India. India informed that efforts are being made to facilitate import of heavy motorcycles like Harley Davidson to India following Euro III standards. It was also agreed to hold an Investment Summit in India in November 2007; start preliminary discussions on having a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) and defer implementation of metal scrap exporter registration regime proposed by India till 30th September 2007.
BACKGROUND TO US-INDIA PRIVATE SECTOR ADVISORY GROUP
The US – India Trade Policy Forum was launched during the visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Washington, DC, in July 2005. This ongoing dialogue is designed to deepen the relationship between the two countries by promoting greater trade and investment. The US – India Trade Policy Forum is chaired by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath. The inaugural ministerial session of the Forum was held in November 2005 in New Delhi. Subsequent ministerial session were in March 2006 in New Delhi and in June 2006 in Washington, DC. Additional meetings at the Deputy USTR / Commerce Secretary level were held in February 2006 in Washington, DC, and in New Delhi in May and November 2006.