U.S.-India Agreement Brings Indian Mangoes into United States
WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab today received the first shipment of fresh mangoes from India, marking the successful culmination of a bilateral initiative to create new opportunities for Indian farmers and U.S. consumers.
“The Indian mangoes I enjoyed today represent more than just a market opening for one product,” said Ambassador Schwab. “The success of the mango initiative signals the determination of both India and the United States to forge deeper and stronger trade ties and create significant new economic opportunities for the people of both of our vast countries.”
The mango initiative, launched by President Bush and Prime Minister Singh just over a year ago, was aimed at facilitating entry of Indian mangoes into the U.S. market. Several U.S. government agencies worked intensively with Indian officials on a range of technical issues so that the first shipment of mangoes coincided with the current harvest season.
Ambassador Schwab visited a successful agricultural business and a subsistence farming community on a visit to India in mid-April that focused on strategic trade issues with India. That visit highlighted both the challenges and the opportunities in opening new trade flows between the United States and India and the importance of more fully connecting India to global trading system.
The United States and India are currently in negotiations with World Trade Organization Members aimed at a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round, which could spur development, create economic opportunities and alleviate poverty.
As part of a broader set of bilateral initiatives, in March 2006, President Bush and Prime Minister Singh agreed that India and the United States would work together to facilitate entry of Indian mangoes into the U.S. market. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), (with assistance from Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST) worked with Indian counterparts to succeed in this initiative in a timely fashion. Indian mangoes typically peak in April/May and run until the monsoons begin in July, but they are late this year due to heavy spring rains.
The United States and India maintain one of the world’s fastest growing major bilateral trade relationships and are committed to a goal of doubling bilateral trade to approximately US$ 60 billion by 2008. Bilateral US-India trade has been growing at an average rate of almost 20 percent per year for the past five years.
During her visit in mid-April, Schwab served as co-chair the fourth Ministerial-level meeting of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum, an initiative launched in July 2005 aimed at strengthening bilateral trade ties and achieving progress in the areas of agricultural trade, investment, trade in services, reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers, and boosting innovation and creativity. While in India, Ambassador Schwab also held in-depth discussions with senior Indian officials on WTO’s Doha Round.