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US may again ask India to further open up economy

business Updated: Feb 06, 2011 12:12 IST

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The US is expected to renew its demand for further opening up of the Indian economy in sectors like multi-brand retail and easing of trade restrictions on several areas, including farm products.

These issues are likely to be taken up by US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke when he meets Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Monday.

Locke, who would visit India between February 6 to 11, would be leading a trade mission comprising 24 US companies from the fields of civil nuclear, hi-tech, security, civil aviation, communication and technology.

India on its part is most likely to discuss the issue of hike in visa fee by the US which has hit India's services sector, particularly the information technology.

"Our minister will convey India's concerns on visa issues and impress upon Locke the importance of open trade policy by all the countries including the US," an official in the Commerce Ministry said.

Though US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Sharma took stock of the WTO's negotiations for Doha trade deal in Davos (Switzerland) recently, Sharma is expected to seek America's cooperation for speeding up the talks so that prospects of reaching a multi-lateral trade agreement this year improve.

According to the US Department of Commerce estimates, the Indo-US bilateral trade may touch USD 50 billion by 2010 (calendar year).

During January to November this year, the trade between the two countries stood at USD 45 billion.

During his India trip, Locke will meet several Indian Cabinet Ministers, besides top officials of the Department of Atomic Energy, Nuclear Power Corporation of India and ISRO.

Besides, he would address three industry chambers Ficci, CII and Nasscom during his visit.

The US delegation, which also includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA), would make stops in New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.

On the last day of his India trip on February 11, Locke would visit 'dabbawallahs' (tiffin caterers) in Mumbai to learn about the unique logistics operations involved in delivering home-cooked food to thousands of people daily.