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United States and India Meet During Trade Policy Forum

New Delhi - U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk and India's Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma met in New Delhi on October 26 for the sixth ministerial-level meeting of the United States-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF). The two governments signaled their readiness to continue their bilateral trade policy dialogue with renewed vigor under the five Focus Groups: Agriculture, Innovation and Creativity, Investment, Services, and Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers.

"The United States and India have a unique opportunity to draw on our cultural and entrepreneurial similarities to significantly increase two-way trade and investment," said Ambassador Kirk. "American and Indian companies have already joined forces across a range of sectors. Our governments should work together to improve the environment for two-way trade even further, so that we can reap trade's economic benefits for both our countries."

Minister Sharma said, "The Trade Policy Forum provides opportunity for both governments to discuss and share their concerns and work towards resolving them. The potential for bilateral trade and commercial relations between the two countries are immense, and the Forum can provide the necessary momentum to the expansion of this relationship. The inputs of the dynamic private sectors of the two countries have also enriched the Forum." Minister Sharma expressed "deep satisfaction" on the discussions that took place during the Forum meeting. He noted the commitment shown by both countries for further deepening the mutual economic relations and said that the Forum "has established a roadmap for further engagement in this regard."

The two governments agreed to work together on a framework for promoting real and meaningful cooperation in trade and investment. They also agreed to work together to support greater involvement by small and medium enterprises in each other's markets, and to pursue initiatives in the further development of India's infrastructure, and collaboration on clean energy and environmental services, information and communications technologies (ICT), and other key sectors.

The delegations discussed the continued working of the United States-India Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG), which had been created under the TPF to provide strategic advice. Ambassador Kirk and Minister Sharma expect that the work of TPF will benefit from the depth, breadth and diversity of expertise of the PSAG in trade and international affairs.

BACKGROUND

The United States-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF), established in July 2005, is an arrangement between the two governments to discuss trade and investment issues. The TPF is co-chaired by the United States Trade Representative and the Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry. Issues and concerns are discussed under five Focus Groups. The dialogue addresses a wide range of issues that will lead to initiatives in key sectors and create momentum for expanding bilateral trade. A Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) was formed in April 2007 as an adjunct to TPF to provide the TPF with views and advice from non-government trade and investment experts.