USTR flags market access, tariffs, digital trade as key issues

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Monday raised market access restrictions, high tariffs, unpredictable regulatory requirements and restricted digital trade measures as key issues with India and underscored the huge potential of trade between the two economies on areas such as digital economy, services, health-related trade and agriculture.

“These are issues we need to make progress and they will be on the top of my list while I’m here. I’m also looking forward to discussing how further collaboration on what we are calling worker-centric policies can benefit our trade relationship,” Tai said on the occasion of reviving the US-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF), pointing at a “fundamental” shift in US trade policy that would ensure focus of its policies and actions on the impact that trade and trade agreements would have on real working people.

“The trade relationship between our two countries is a top priority both for President Biden and for me. That’s why it was important for me to come to India and relaunch the Trade Policy Forum on my first trip to Asia,” she said.

The TPF was created to foster these same activities, Tai said. “I know that all of you in this room are similarly invested in the trade relationship. You are putting in the hard work to build commercial ventures, navigate the trading system and strengthen ties between our countries on a daily basis,” she said.

Tai said the US and India face “shared challenges” in areas like climate change and sustainability, vulnerable supply chains and promoting market oriented principles and structures. “These are areas are ripe for closer collaboration now,” she said.

Speaking on the occasion, minister Goyal said: “We have been uniquely tasked by our leaders, PM Modi and President Biden, to strengthen our economic ties, and trade based on transparency and fairness.”

Goyal pointed at the principal of equity while negotiating trade deals between a highly developed country and a developing country like India. “Of course, I am sure you will bear in mind the hugely differing level of prosperity between the people of the US and the people of India, and the shared vision to work towards mutual prosperity of the people of both our nations,” he said.

“A self-confident and self-reliant India, wishing to expand our engagement with the rest of the world, opening our doors even wider through trade and economic ties. I do believe that India’s competitive advantages of cost, skilled manpower and the huge market domestic demand combined with American innovation and investment can become a winning partnership,” he said.

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Jitendra Kumar

Jitendra Kumar Born on October 10, 1990 an Indian author and activist from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.