US to double trade to $60 bn by 2008 end
By Arun Kumar, Washington, March 5, 2008 (IANS)
and the US have set the goal of doubling their trade to about $60
billion by the end of 2008 while agreeing to begin exploratory talks
on a possible bilateral investment treaty. The goal is set out in
the Bush administration's 2008 Trade Policy Agenda and the 2007
Annual Trade Report to the US Congress released here Tuesday. Though
trade has expanded rapidly, the current total amount of bilateral
trade is not consistent with the size and potential of both the
US and Indian economies, and both governments agree that trade and
investment flows should be greater, the report said.
developments in 2007 included finalising arrangements for Indian
mangoes to enter the US market for the first time, and agreement
to initiate exploratory discussions in early 2008 on a possible
bilateral investment treaty. Another development in 2007 in the
bilateral US-India trade relationship was the creation of a Private
Sector Advisory Group (PSAG). The group's key purpose is to provide
strategic recommendations and insights to the India Trade Policy
discussions under the TPF, which is part of the overall economic
dialogue between India and the US, cover bilateral trade and related
issues and also address multilateral issues such as the ongoing
World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round negotiations.
membership of the PSAG includes trade experts and representatives
of private sector organizations in the US and India with in-depth
knowledge of international economic and trade policy.
group will provide US Trade Representative (USTR) Susan C. Schwab
and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath with analyses
and recommendations for potential building blocks for bilateral
with India's dynamic and growing economy, the bilateral agenda continued
to expand with respect to the significant opportunities for bilateral
trade that US and Indian companies are aggressively pursuing, as
well as the challenges US investors continue to face as India gradually
opens its markets.
India continues to limit market access in various sectors, including
through high taxes and tariffs, non-transparent procedures, discriminatory
treatment of imports, and non-tariff barriers, said the report.
the two countries completed another year of active dialogue on trade
policy in 2007, the report said India is working to improve its
protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
continue to work with the government of India to address issues
related to India's copyright law and patent law, protection of undisclosed
pharmaceutical test or other data, as well as high levels of piracy,
including book piracy, and counterfeiting," it said.
USTR's efforts included the identification of new areas for cooperation,
including with regard to India's tariff and tax regime, intellectual
property rights, investment climate and regulatory hurdles.
part of their trade dialogue, Schwab and Kamal Nath convened the
fourth ministerial-level meeting of the TPF in April 2007. Through
regular dialogue under the TPF, the US and India seek to remove
impediments to bilateral trade by anticipating potential trade problems
and jointly resolving concerns early.
TPF serves as the umbrella for five focus groups: Agriculture, Tariff
and Non-Tariff Barriers, Services, Investment, and Innovation and
Creativity (in particular intellectual property rights issues).
USTR Karan Bhatia and Indian Commerce Secretary Gopal Pillai oversaw
ongoing focus group discussions throughout 2007 to address priority
issues such as foreign direct investment caps, intellectual property
rights protection, telecommunications policy and market access for
a wide range of manufactured and agricultural products and services.
and Kamal Nath met on several other occasions in 2007. They participated
in the US-India Economic Dialogue and US-India CEO Forum events
held in New York City in September.
events included discussions among US and Indian Cabinet-level and
other senior government officials focused on trade and economic
government officials from both countries also met with CEOs from
major US and Indian corporations with the goal of reviewing progress,
and building momentum for our bilateral trade and investment relationship.
and Kamal Nath also met a number of times in the context of the
Doha Development Round negotiations in an effort to find common
ground in the pursuit of an ambitious outcome.
too, the US continues to lead efforts towards concluding an ambitious
Doha Development Round, the report said.
an ambitious Doha Round is President George Bush's top trade negotiating
priority and will generate economic growth through new trade flows
in agriculture, industrial goods and services - helping to lift
millions of people in developing counties out of poverty, it said.
administration realises that a window of opportunity exists to conclude
the Doha Round this year and looks forward to working with our trading
partners to achieve the ambitious and balanced outcome that will
be necessary for a successful agreement," the report said.