Traditional medicines, visa fees top India-US trade talks

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 25, 2014 23:44 IST

Visa fees and increased market access for India’s traditional and ayurvedic medicines topped the agenda for trade talks with the US that got underway here on Tuesday.

The two governments indicated at a meeting between commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Trade Representative Michael Froman that they are ready to push for further talks on liberalisation of bilateral trade and investment ties “in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation in both India and the United States.”

According to a senior commerce ministry official, “The pending dialogue on pharmaceuticals between the National Institute of Health, US and corresponding bodies in India for opening up the market for traditional medicines and ayurvedic medicines… and a solution on the immigrations norms and hiked visa fees” were discussed.

India has said that if a solution is not found, the imposition of fees should not be done beyond September 2015, he said.

The official said New Delhi has also clarified on the continuation of the peace clause till a suitable solution is formed at the WTO.

A joint statement said “The United States took note of India’s interest in engaging on social security totalisation, and agreed to review any information provided by India about developments in its social security regime.”

Froman said at a media interaction that on intellectual property rights (IPR) issues, India and US have common interests, and that for a knowledge-based economy, a strong IPR regime is necessary.

Froman also hailed the improved confidence in the global business community towards India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power. “There seems to be a palpable change in mood here among government officials, business people, and in the international business community,” he said. “I think there is cautious optimism that the mood change (would) lead to concrete actions.”

On foreign direct investments, Froman said there was a lot of interest in the insurance sector. “I think there is lot of interest in the draft insurance law that is before the Parliament which is I understand (wants to) raise the FDI cap in that sector. It has been discussed for a long time,” he said.

India and US have agreed to convene the ninth round of the talks in the US next year.

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