New Delhi: After a hiatus of four years, India and the United States are set to re-launch Trade Policy Forum (TPF), a premier forum on Tuesday to resolve trade and investment issues between the two countries.
Expressing hope on the re-launch of the TPF, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday said the forum can be revitalised to engage and resolve outstanding issues between India and the US in an amicable manner.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai is on a two-day visit. She is on a maiden visit to India after assuming office in March. Tai expressed appreciation to India, and to Minister Goyal personally, for the warm welcome in India.
What’s the significance of the forum?
Established in 2005, the India-US TPF met last in October 2017. It was then replaced by negotiations between the two sides on a trade deal. The TPF is a premier forum to resolve trade and investment issues between India and the US. It has five focus groups: Agriculture, Investment, Innovation and Creativity (intellectual property rights), Services, and Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers.
“Our TPF was languishing for four years. I’m delighted that we have been able to rejuvenate it,” said Goyal at the India-US Trade Policy Forum 2021.
As the Biden administration insisting on resolving irritants first, rather than going for a mini deal, the focus on TPF has again emerged.
“This TPF is only the beginning of a new chapter in our trade relations but I do hope that together, we can revitalise it to engage and resolve outstanding issues in an amicable manner and send a strong message to the entire world that the US and India are stronger partners than ever before,” the minister said, reported news agency PTI.
Goyal also said that while discussing ways to strengthen economic ties and trade between the two nations, the US will bear in mind the hugely differing levels of prosperity among different nations.
He added that India’s competitive advantage in terms of cost, skilled manpower and huge domestic market, combined with American innovation and investment, can become a winning partnership between natural friends. “We have had some good discussions earlier today and one of the issues we discussed was how do we bring the world out of the Covid-19 pandemic and how do we make our economies more resilient to face future shocks that may come as we go along,” he said.
India and the US have realised the necessity of diversifying critical supply chains and are poised to play an increasingly important role when it comes to resilient supply chains, working with other like-minded nations, he noted.
“While the bilateral trade in goods stood at $80 billion in 2020. It has now reached the same level in the first quarters of 2021,” the minister said. He further said the Indian economy has recovered sharply and rising economic indicators point towards ‘India is shaping up for a growth decade’.
The bilateral trade between the countries stood at $80.5 billion in 2020-21. India has received $13. 8 billion foreign direct investment from the US during 2020-21.