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India - U.S Trade Policy Forum Fact Sheet

Washington, DC
June 22, 2006 

At the third ministerial-level meeting of the India - U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) and recent preparatory discussions, India and the United States made progress on a number of key bilateral trade issues.

In addition to the progress made on the issues listed below, which are specific to the five focus group areas specific to the TPF, the United States and India agreed to create a senior-level private sector advisory group as an adjunct to the TPF that will provide strategic direction, input and support to the TPF. This would allow for interaction between government and private sector trade experts, including from corporations, associations, think tanks and other organizations.

INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY

India and the United States agreed to an Action Plan directed to intellectual property rights. The Action Plan addresses many areas of cooperation. The two sides

• committed to work together to promote innovation, creativity and technological advancement by providing a vibrant intellectual property rights regime, and to cooperate in the field of intellectual property rights to include capacity building activities, human resource development and public awareness programs;

• finalized a proposal to strengthen the Indian Patent Office through sharing of experiences and technical cooperation in all fields, including biotechnology. Cooperation will be extended for preparing an Operating Manual for IPRs for Examiners and a Manual for IP Users;

• will work on mutually agreeable ways to make the patent systems more effective with respect to traditional knowledge by minimizing the improper granting of patents;

• will work together to facilitate Indian Trademark Registry to fulfill the requirements of the Madrid Protocol system;

• agreed that India will consider measures that provides data protection against disclosure to and reliance by third parties with respect to agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals;

• will work together to familiarize enforcement agencies about intellectual property laws and working of systems in both the countries, including exchange of best practices and capacity building efforts directed toward the judiciary, customs and other enforcement agencies; and

• will work together to address the concerns of each other in counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property material in each other’s territory.

INVESTMENT

The United States and India agreed

• to initiate a Bilateral Infrastructure Investment Program. The program will focus on identifying investment opportunities, incentives and challenges in key infrastructural sectors, such as power, roads, airports and ports. Both sides have shared contact information at the national and sub-national level and India has identified priority projects in these sectors. Further discussion on these issues will continue between our governments in the near future and will be broadened to include interested private sector participants.

SERVICES

The United States and India

• discussed progress being made toward selecting participants for a legal services working group that would bring together legal professionals from India and the United States to discuss various relevant issues;

• agreed to continue efforts to exchange information concerning professional services regulation and approaches to mutual recognition across a range of sectors, including medical (Ayurveda), accounting, engineering, and architectural services; and

• addressed a number of other services issues, including policy concerns related to express delivery, financial services, telecommunications, media policy, and visa policies and procedures.

AGRICULTURE

The United States and India

• acknowledged progress in broad-basing the requirements for import of wheat by India, and agreed to continue dialogue on this subject;

• discussed information provided by the U.S. on the use of phosphine as a phytosanitary treatment on U.S. almonds, and agreed to work towards expeditious resolution of this

• issue. In the interim, a one-month extension on the current arrangements will prevent any disruption to trade;

noted the progress in the initiation of the regulatory process for the approval of bees wax and carnauba as a coating for fruits. The U.S. continued to request the approval of shellac.

• reaffirmed the need to make steady progress to complete technical and operational steps to certify Indian mangoes for export to the U.S. market and that this issue remains a top priority for both the United States and India. The U.S. agreed to provide a revised operational work plan, which will be followed by a meeting of our experts;

• agreed to continue to discuss U.S. concerns about India’s proposed biotech measures;

• reaffirmed their commitment to active engagement toward the resolution of technical issues associated with trade in U.S. pet food, poultry, bovine semen, and dairy;

• discussed India's request to receive cold treatment initiation training from USG experts to facilitate export of Indian litchis;

discussed the request of the U.S. to work toward a long term solution for export of U.S. peas and pulses;

discussed information provided by the U.S. on the necessary process for seeking equivalence for Indian organic products with U.S. organic standards.

TARIFF AND NON-TARIFF BARRIERS ON INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS

The United States and India

• reviewed options for greater cooperation (including dispute settlement mechanisms) for

small- and medium-sized enterprises;

• discussed the taxation structure on wines and spirits in India with an eye to facilitating trade;

noted that technical discussions were underway on Indian emission standards for large

motorcycles, and to explore a way forward;

• suggested greater cooperation on technical issues as India prepares to review its policy on

the import of aircraft; and

• explored ideas relating to government procurement that could benefit both sides.