8th Indo-US TPF ends with work plans for continued engagement

Both sides committed to identify ways in which trade, innovation policies can enhance access to quality health and affordable medicines

Minister of Commerce and Industry of India Nirmala Sitharaman and US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman met in New Delhi on November 25, 2014 for the eighth ministerial-level meeting of the India-United States Trade Policy Forum (TPF). The two governments signaled their readiness to enhance bilateral trade and investment ties in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation in both India and the United States. They agreed to convene the ninth round of the TPF in the United States in 2015.

Minister Sitharaman and Ambassador Froman discussed and exchanged views on a range of trade and investment issues, in particular, agriculture, services, promoting investment in manufacturing, and intellectual property.

On IP and related issues, recognising the shared interest of creative industries in both countries, India and the US agreed to deepen cooperation to build capacity and generate awareness in the field of copyright. Minister Sitharaman and Ambassador Froman also acknowledged the paramount goal of ensuring the poorest populations in India and the United States have access to quality healthcare, and committed to identifying ways in which trade and innovation policies can enhance access to quality health and affordable medicines.

India highlighted the benefits of traditional Indian medicine in view of its potential to enhance access to affordable healthcare; and the importance of traditional knowledge in contributing to cultural, economic, and social development. The United States agreed to facilitate further engagement in this field between the experts of both countries.

Minister Sitharaman highlighted India’s work on a new intellectual property rights (IPR) policy which would stimulate innovation across sectors in the country. The United States agreed to share information on this subject to support India’s on-going efforts.

Both countries recognise the importance of providing a transparent and predictable policy environment for fostering innovation as well as the importance of trade secrets protection to attracting investment and agree to exchange information on best legal practices in this area.

Minister Sitharaman and Ambassador Froman encouraged the continued work of the United States-India Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG), which had been created under the TPF to provide strategic advice. Minister Sitharaman and Ambassador Froman expect that the work of TPF will benefit from the depth, breadth, and diversity of expertise of the PSAG in trade and international affairs in advance of the 2015 TPF meeting to be held in Washington, DC.

In conclusion, Minister Sitharaman and Ambassador Froman expressed satisfaction with the discussions held during the eighth round of the TPF and reiterated their mutual commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation in trade and investment.

EP News BureauMumbai