NEW DELHI – Today, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath met for strategic trade talks during the sixth Ministerial-level meeting of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF).
Ambassador Schwab and Minister Nath focused on a number of initiatives to strengthen bilateral trade ties and held in-depth trade policy discussions on tariff and non-tariff barriers, agriculture, investment, services, and intellectual property rights. Ambassador Schwab and Minister Nath also announced the formulation of a Private Sector Advisory Group of U.S. and Indian international trade experts who will provide strategic recommendations and insights to the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum.
“The U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum is a critical instrument for advancing bilateral trade and investment,” said Ambassador Schwab. “It is our hope that the Private Sector Advisory Group will infuse our very productive existing dialogue with new ideas to enhance the bilateral trade and investment environment.”
Minister Nath added, “Positive growth and expansion of the U.S.-India trade and investment relationship represents a key element in our strategic partnership. The Trade Policy Forum continues to provide a valuable forum for advancing our goals and collaboration at the expert level on issues of mutual concern and interest.”
The United States and India maintain 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. During the visit, Ambassador Schwab and Minister Nath also discussed the Doha negotiations, agreeing that the United States and India share a commitment to conclude a successful, far-reaching Doha Round by the end of 2007.
Membership of the Private Sector Advisory Group includes key voices in the United States and India on international economic and trade policy. U.S. representatives include: Ambassador Carla A. Hills, Former U.S. Trade Representative, and currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hills & Co.; Mr. C. Fred Bergsten, Director of the Pete G. Peterson Institute for International Economics (IIE); Mr. John J. Castellani, President of the Business Roundtable; and Mr. Ron Somers, President of the U.S. India Business Council.
Expert representatives from India include: Lt. General S.S. Mehta, (Ret.), Director General, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII); Dr. Amit Mitra, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FIICI); Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Director and Chief Executive, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations; and Dr. V. Krishnamurthy, Chairman, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council
The next meeting of the Trade Policy Forum will be held in Washington, DC in the Fall of 2007.
BACKGROUNDThe U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum was launched during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Washington, DC, in July 2005. This ongoing dialogue is designed to deepen the relationship between the two countries by promoting greater trade and investment. The U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum is chaired by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath. The inaugural, ministerial session of the Forum was held in November 2005 in New Delhi. Subsequent ministerial sessions were in March 2006 in New Delhi and in June 2006 in Washington, DC. Additional meetings at the Deputy level were held in February 2006 in Washington, DC, and in New Delhi in May and November 2006.