US lawmakers urge Katherine Tai to look for a deal during India visit
A bipartisan group of 75 US lawmakers have urged US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai to work towards a framework deal during her talks in New Delhi to quickly reinstate India’s benefits under an American preferential trade programme that allows tariff-free entry for imports from selective countries.
But only if, they added, progress is made at the upcoming meeting of the Trade Policy Forum (TPF), the high platform for trade talks between the two sides, on the longstanding US demand for more access to Indian markets.
The scheme - Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) - lapsed in December 2020; a replacement legislation to reform and modernise it is currently working its way through US Congress.
But India’s benefits were suspended by the Trump administration much before in June 2019 after failing to get India grant US businesses to its markets.
“If progress can be made at the TPF to address the market access issues that led to India’s termination as a GSP beneficiary, we strongly encourage you to create a framework for a deal that could be implemented soon after Congress reauthorises the GSP programme,” the lawmakers said in a joint letter to Katherine Tai.
The letter was initiated by House of Representatives members Suzan DelBene, a Democrat, and Brad Westrup, a Republican. A total of more than 40 Democrats and 30 Republicans signed the letter.
Tai meets her Indian counterpart union minister for commerce and industry Piyush Goyal on November 23. The TPF is meeting for the first time in four years.
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