India to raise visa issue in trade policy meet

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India to raise visa issue in trade policy meet

Context

  • The Centre will be raising Indian industry’s concerns over the U.S. visa ‘curbs’ and the ‘delay’ in inking a bilateral social security pact (or totalization agreement) during the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting likely in October.

Expectations from the TPF meeting

  • In the TPF meeting, the U.S. is expected to table its worries over India’s ‘restrictions’ on e-commerce as well as the ‘challenges’ faced by American innovative industries due to India’s ‘weak’ Intellectual Property Rights administration.
  • New Delhi will be putting forth the ‘non-tariff barriers’ by the U.S. that are hurting Indian agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industrial exports.
  • Washington is expected to raise its concerns over India’s ‘excessively high tariffs’ on imports of many manufactured products as well as the $24.3 billion goods trade deficit that the U.S. had with India in 2016.

Official delegation to New Delhi

  • Ahead of the TPF meeting, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for South and Central Asia, Mark Linscott, will lead a U.S. official delegation to New Delhi in September for discussions on the TPF agenda.
  • He’ll also be framing the contours of the projected ‘comprehensive review’ of bilateral trade relations.
  • Prior to that, Mr. Linscott, Tanya Menchi, Deputy Assistant USTR for South and Central Asia, and Brendan Lynch, Director for India at the USTR Office, will participate in a round-table discussion on August 2.
  • The discussion is being organized by the advocacy body U.S.-India Business Council to gather inputs for the TPF meeting and the ample review of bilateral trade ties.
  • Such discussions means that the ‘commercial’ track will be taken out of the India-US ‘Strategic and Commercial Dialogue’ (S&CD), and from now on take place independently.
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