USTR - USTR to Participate in Inaugural U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum
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USTR to Participate in Inaugural U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum
11/11/2005

New Delhi Next Stop to Strengthen Bilateral Ties and Promote Ambitious Doha Result; Africa Stop Builds Understanding and Partnerships on Agriculture

NEW DELHI –Tomorrow, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman will participate in a series of meetings with senior Indian officials and business community representatives as part of his trip around the globe to strengthen bilateral ties and promote a strong and ambitious result in the Doha Round negotiations.

An important purpose of his trip to New Delhi includes the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum. This initiative was launched in July 2005 in connection with the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington, as a way to elevate and strengthen the two countries’ trade relationship.

Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath and Ambassador Portman will co-chair the Trade Policy Forum and facilitate this important bilateral dialogue in the areas of tariff and non-tariff barriers on industrial products, agriculture, intellectual property rights protection, investment and services.

Over the course of the day, Ambassador Portman and Minister Nath will also provide public remarks to gatherings of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The Ambassador will also meet with Mr. Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture, and other senior Indian officials, and address the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in India. Each meeting will provide an opportunity to exchange views on bilateral trade issues and explore ways to achieve a successful outcome in the Doha Round which will have a meaningful impact on development and generate worldwide economic growth.

Today, the Ambassador departed Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso where he and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns participated in a meeting with West African cotton-producing countries, including Benin, Chad, Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso, and a bilateral meeting with the President of Burkina Faso Blaise Campaore.

The meetings provided a critical opportunity to discuss the U.S. proposal on agriculture to eliminate export subsidies by 2010, provide deep cuts and ultimately eliminate trade-distorting domestic support, and deliver deep tariff cuts that would open new markets to African farmers. After a successful meeting with C-4 countries, Ambassador Portman and Secretary Johanns toured Faso Cotton – a cotton gin – and held a roundtable with cotton producers and processors to better understand their needs and perspectives.

"The African countries would like to see prompt action on cotton, and there was recognition by the African Ministers that the U.S. had offered the most ambitious and aggressive proposal in the WTO to not only cut trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, but eliminate them," said Portman. "They also recognize that we need their participation to achieve these results."

"That is why we asked African Ministers to work with us as partners in the effort to achieve the most aggressive result possible in agriculture, a step which will benefit cotton producing countries in Africa. They were receptive to partnering with us in this objective, and also expressed appreciation for the efforts the Bush Administration and the U.S. Senate have made to eliminate the Step 2 cotton subsidy program," Portman noted.

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item: Opening Remarks of USTR Portman at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Luncheon
item: Question and Answer Session with USTR Portman and Minister Nath at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Luncheon