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India, US trade ministers to meet in Sydney next month

LiveMint logoLiveMint 05-06-2014 PTI

New Delhi: Trade ministers of India and the US would meet next month in Sydney during the G-20 meeting to boost bilateral economic relations.

US trade representative (USTR) Michael Froman called up India’s commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the two talked about ways to further strengthen the relations on the economic front during their 20 minutes talks, an official said. Later, Sitharaman tweeted: “Froman called, a good beginning, committed to building a strong partnership. Will meet him at G-20 in July in Australia.”

The official said that the Indian minister reciprocated Froman’s gesture by signalling interest in making a fresh beginning on a positive note. Further, the USTR also talked about the Trade Policy Forum (TPF), which has not “met for quite some time”. While the TPF has not met, officials from both the sides have engaged through video conferencing. Notes were exchanged by officials on issues such as intellectual property rights, services, agriculture and investment issues. The coming visit of the deputy USTR Wendy Cutler to meet commerce secretary Rajeev Kher in July in preparation for convening the next meeting of the TPF also came up for discussion. The US-India TPF is an inter-agency collaboration led by the US trade representative.

It is the principal trade dialogue between the countries. It has five focus groups: agriculture, investment, innovation and creativity (intellectual property rights), services, and tariff and non-tariff barriers. At present, the bilateral stands at about $100 billion. The US-India Business Council (USIBC) had said bilateral trade between the countries could touch the $500-billion mark over the next decade. India has received about $12 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) from US companies from April 2000 to March 2014.

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