India and US to reconvene trade policy forum from this year

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first-ever in-person meeting with President Joe Biden laid “strong emphasis” on developing trade and economic relations with the United States, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla informed reporters. “There was a strong emphasis by the Prime Minister on developing the trade and economic relations,” Shringla told reporters at a news conference after the meeting.

The two leaders felt that they should ask their ministers concerned – Commerce and Industry Minister in the case of India and United States Trade Representative in the case of US – to see how to impart greater dynamism to the trade bilateral relationship, how to more speedily implement some of the decisions that could involve further accelerating the trade ties between the two countries.

There was also a discussion on the TRIPS paper. India appreciated the US decision to support the initiative by India and South Africa, to seek a waiver of IPR at the WTO, so that vaccines could be made more widely available, particularly in the developing world, he said.

During the discussion, Biden commented that he took the decision very early on in his presidency, and that he was committed to that decision. In a fact sheet issued by the White House, the Biden administration said that under the upcoming Trade Policy Forum, the United States seeks to work with India to address trade concerns and enhance bilateral trade.

The US also looks forward to holding the next meeting of the US-India Commercial Dialogue and CEO Forum to enhance business and commercial ties between the two countries. As of 2021, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has a portfolio in India valued at over USD 2.5 billion, covering projects across multiple sectors, including renewable energy, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, private equity, housing, and insurance. An additional USD 900 million in new projects are expected over the next fiscal year.

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