India, US trade policy forum meet in Washington on Oct 25

NEW DELHI, Oct 22: Issues including visa, greater market access for goods and intellectual property rights are expected to figure in the trade policy forum (TPF) meeting between India and the US on October 25 in Washington, an official said.

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu will attend the meet.

After the Trump administration took power, this would be the first formal interaction between trade authorities of the two countries. The last meeting was held in October here.

The forum was set up in 2005 and the meeting is co- chaired by the Indian Commerce Minister and the US Trade Representative (USTR), with an aim to expand bilateral trade and investment.

The official, who did not wish to be named, said that on September 22, senior officers of both the countries took stock of the issues in run-up to this meet.

It was a preparatory meeting for the ministerial level TPF.

The four working groups under this forum are on intellectual property, promoting investment in manufacturing, services and agriculture.

In the previous meeting, both sides had committed to continue engagement to resolve issues related to visa, movement of professionals and totalisation pact.

Under this pact, professionals of both will be exempted from social security taxes when they go to work for a short period in the other country.

India has time and again raised the issue of H-1B visa with the US authorities and asked them to liberalise their visa regime as Indian IT companies contribute significantly to the American economy.

Trade between the two counties increased to USD 64.51 billion in 2016-17, from USD 62.11 billion in the previous fiscal.

However, foreign direct investment from the US into India dipped to USD 2.37 billion in 2016-17 from USD 4.19 billion in 2015-16. (PTI)


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