Background

A number of bilateral trade irritants were addressed at a Nov. 23 meeting of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum in New Delhi, the first such meeting in four years.

According to a joint statement issued after the meeting, India highlighted its interest in restoring its beneficiary status under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences. That status was terminated in June 2019 in light of what the U.S. called “a wide array” of market access barriers. Prior to that time India had been the largest user of GSP, with $5.7 billion in shipments under the program in 2017.

The U.S. responded that India’s request “could be considered, as warranted, in relation to the eligibility criteria determined by the U.S. Congress.” GSP lapsed Dec. 31, 2020, and has not been reauthorized due to disagreements among lawmakers about whether to revise or expand the program’s eligibility requirements.

Also at the meeting the two sides agreed to the following measures.

- consider potential targeted tariff reductions (no further details were offered)

- finalize work on market access for mangoes, pomegranates, pomegranate arils and table grapes from India and cherries, alfalfa hay, and pork and pork products from the U.S.

- consider enhanced market access for distillers’ dried grains from the U.S. and water buffalo meat and wild-caught shrimp from India

- reactivate TPF working groups on agriculture, non-agriculture goods, services, investment, and intellectual property to address issues of mutual concern on an ongoing basis

- jointly take a leading role in developing secure supply chains in critical sectors of trade and technology, including health

- hold further talks on a range of regulatory issues affecting trade in health-related products

- collaborate on issues of child and forced labor in global supply chains

- relaunch workshops focused on accelerating implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

The two sides directed TPF working groups to develop by March 2022 plans for making substantive progress on these and other issues. In addition, senior officials are to identify a set of specific trade outcomes that could be finalized for an inter-sessional TPF meeting to be held by mid-2022.

Copyright © 2021 Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.; WorldTrade Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved.

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