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Weekly Trade Spotlight: India

06/15/2009 - 9:17am

Every week, the USTR website will explore a new trade topic, with background information and current trade data. On June 17, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will participate in a roundtable at the U.S.-India Business council, so this week's trade spotlight is U.S.-India trade relations.

India is an important trade partner for the United States.  India is currently our 17th largest goods trading partner with $44.4 billion in total (two way) trade during 2008, and the U.S. is one of India's top investors.  Services trade in 2007 (latest data available) was a 50/50 share of the total $19 billion in two-way trade.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is committed to enhancing the U.S.-India trade relationship by fostering enhanced dialogue on important trade policy  matters including a U.S.-India Bilateral Investment Treaty.

One way that the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is working on growing trade and investment links with India is through the Trade Policy Forum (TPF). The TPF was launched in 2005 and is broken down into five main areas:  agriculture, investment, innovation and creativity (intellectual property rights), services, and tariff and non-tariff barriers.  U.S. and Indian focus group chairs regularly meet to discuss and resolve issues related to these areas.

A Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) was created in 2007 and is composed of U.S. and Indian trade experts. These experts provide strategic recommendations to the TPF including financial sector reform, energy cooperation, higher education, and globalization & inclusiveness, all with a mind to enhance the bilateral trade relationship.

In 2006-2008, the White House led an Economic Dialogue, which served as the government-to-government forum on bilateral economic issues, was the umbrella mechanism for the Trade Policy Forum and several other bilateral dialogues led by other agencies. The CEO Forum was the private sector arm of the Economic Dialogue and comprised CEOs from the U.S. and India - representing a cross-section of sectors - who exchanged business community views on a number of key economic priorities.  The CEO Forum presented recommendations to the U.S. and Indian governments designed to improve the commercial climate between the two countries.  The U.S. Trade Representative, the Commerce and Treasury Secretaries and the National Economic Council Chairman participated in both discussions as did India's Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and Ministers of Finance and Commerce.

For more information on U.S.-India trade facts, please visit the India page.