Home / Economy / Addressing  India’s  trade barriers priority: USTR
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US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai on Monday said addressing contentious bilateral trade issues such as market access restrictions, high tariffs, unpredictable regulatory requirements, and restrictive digital trade measures will top her agenda during her ongoing two-day visit to India to relaunch the Trade Policy Forum (TPF).

Established in 2005, the forum seeks to resolve outstanding bilateral issues and promote trade and investment through focused discussions under various working groups such as on agriculture, tariff and non-tariff barriers, services, investment, and innovation. The USTR and India’s trade minister Piyush Goyal will be holding the TPF on Tuesday after a gap of four years.

The Donald Trump administration discontinued the practice of holding the annual meeting after the 2017 meeting.

Speaking at a dinner organized in her honour, Tai said she believes a revived TPF can help the India-US trade relationship to keep pace with other important aspects of the US-India partnership though bilateral trade never seems to live up to its significant potential.

“There is huge potential for growth between our two economies in services, health-related trade and, yes, even agriculture. At USTR, we hear very frequently from our stakeholders who are not shy on issues that would be familiar to those of you involved in moving goods and services between our two countries: Market access restrictions, high tariffs, unpredictable regulatory requirements, restrictive digital trade measures—these are issues where we intend to make progress, and they will be on top of my list while I am here," she said.

Tai said India and the US also face shared challenges in areas like climate change and sustainability, vulnerable supply chains, and promoting market-oriented principles and structures.

“These are areas that are ripe for closure collaboration now," she added.

Welcoming Tai, trade minister Piyush Goyal said she has a significant role to play in the emerging world order and that he is confident she will deftly handle the emerging geopolitical challenges and nurture increased engagement between the world’s oldest and largest democracy. “We have been uniquely tasked by our leaders to strengthen our economic ties and trade based on rules of transparency and fair trade. Of course, I am sure while doing that you will bear in mind the hugely different levels of prosperity among different nations and also people of both our countries," Goyal said.

Goyal said the US and India realized the necessity of diversifying critical supply chains, and both countries are poised to play an increasingly important role to build resilient supply chains working with other like-minded nations.

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