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India, US agree to continue talks on visa and other issues

PTI 25 Nov 2014, 22:35:30 PM IST

New Delhi: Seeking to further stimulate bilateral trade and investment, the Indo-US Trade Policy Forum, which met after a gap of four years, today agreed to continue their engagement on visa related issues and enhance market access for agriculture products.  These issues were discussed by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman.

The two sides also committed themselves to working with WTO members to ensure positive outcome at the WTO's General Council, which will take up the trade facilitation pact and food stockpiling issue at its meeting in Geneva tomorrow.  

“The two governments signalled their readiness to enhance bilateral trade and investment ties in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation in both India and the US,” a joint statement issued after Trade Policy Forum meeting said.  

The previous TPF meeting, the principle trade dialogue between the two countries, had taken place in 2010.  It has 5 focus groups: Agriculture, Investment, Services, Innovation and Creativity and Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers.  “The US took note of India's interest in engaging on social security tantalisation, and agreed to review any information provided by India about developments in its social security regime.

“They decided to continue their engagement on visa issues, and the US took note of India‘s interest in ensuring easier access for Indian professionals in the US,” it said.  Froman said in a press meet that India raised concerns about visa-related matters and “we took note of that”.  On intellectual property rights (IPR) issue, the USTR asked India to strengthen its laws.

“...it is important that there (should) be incentives for innovation. Without innovation, there (will) be no pipeline of drugs that might be made into generics in future,” he said.  The statement said Sitharaman and Froman acknowledged the paramount goal of ensuring the poorest populations in India and the US to have access to quality healthcare. The committed themselves to identifying ways in which trade and innovation policies can enhance access to quality health and affordable medicines.