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India, US trade set to double

India and the US are set to sign a slew of agreements to give impetus to trade between the two countries which is likely to double over the next three years, from $26.8 billion in 2005 to over $40 billion in 2008.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 02:35 IST

India and the US are set to sign a slew of agreements to give impetus to trade between the two countries which is likely to double over the next three years, from $26.8 billion in 2005 to over $40 billion in 2008.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and US Trade Representative Rob Portman on Wednesday held discussions on more than 12 issues, including lifting of trade barriers on certain ayurvedic products and mangoes. The discussions also focused on India-US Trade Policy Forum, with special emphasis on agriculture, tariff and non-tariff barriers (NBT) in industrial products, services, investment, innovation and creativity and on steps to increase bilateral trade.

Speaking to reporters, Kamal Nath said, “In addition to bilateral, we have also discussed the multilateral issues. Some of the issues could be taken up at the G-6 in London next week. We will try to examine how a convergence can be reached between us in moving the multilateral forces further so that by April the modalities are sorted out.”

“We have discussed the possibilities of investment summits to help the small and medium enterprises in India to forge an alliance with the SMEs in the US and also to attract foreign direct investment in this sector. The CEOs forum will draft the outline which would be discussed and finalised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George Bush,” he said.

Rob Portman said a number of accomplishments on bilateral trade between the US and India would be announced during the week coinciding with the visit of President Bush.

“During the last meeting, India and the US had agreed to double trade between the two countries in five years. The Indian government wanted it to be done in three years and we are confident that the target can be achieved. We will also try to help bring WTO trade talks to a successful conclusion,” said Rob Portman.

Commenting on lifting trade barriers on certain products, Portman said, “Today I had mango, it was very delicious and I hope to get to eat such a mango in the US before it is too long. The trade policy forum is examining and we have made progress, the actual announcement, I believe, is most appropriate if it comes from our leaders.”

He said a number of issues that would be announced by the two leaders have already been resolved between the US Trade Representative and the Commerce and Industry Ministry.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 02:35 IST