Trade Policy Forum Meeting Current Affairs
The 11th India-United States Trade Policy Forum (TPF) Meeting was held in Washington D.C, capital city of US. It was chaired jointly by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Both sides held discussions on issues related to bilateral trade, areas of mutual cooperation, market access in agriculture, non-agricultural goods and services and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
Concerns raised by US: Market access issues, import regulations relating to poultry, ground handling operations, export of pork to India and price controls on medical devices.
Concerns raised by India: Easing of procedure for export of Indian pomegranates and mangoes and market access for table grapes from India. Problems faced by Indian services companies in obtaining H-1B and L-1 visas. It requested US to ease movement of skilled professionals as Indian IT companies contribute significantly to American economy. Issue of tantalisation i.e. mismatch between US visa and US social security regimes was also raised. In this case, Indian professionals making social security contributions, but they do not receive their due benefits upon their return to India
Greater opportunities for US exports to India: National IPR Policy 2016 lays down roadmap for future development in field of IPRs. It is considered as major step towards strengthening IPR ecosystem in India, including improvements in procedures, timelines and resolution of disputes. Draft Pharmaceutical Policy addresses many of US concerns. India desires to address concerns of providing affordable healthcare to its citizens and balancing it with the need to introduce high end technology. US manufacturers of medical devices have been encouraged to establish manufacturing facilities in India.
India already has started to import crude oil and new Liquefied Natural Gas exports are expected to commence early next year. Indian aviation companies have placed orders for over 300 aircrafts valued at several billions of dollars.
Bilateral trade between India and US has increased to US $64.51 billion in 2016-17, from US $62.11 billion in previous fiscal. However, foreign direct investment (FDI) from US into India dipped to US $2.37 billion in 2016-17 from US $4.19 billion in 2015-16.