US telling India that Unpredictable Policies are key impediments to Bilateral Trade (GS 3, Economics, The Hindu, Indian Express)  

News/ Context: U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Monday flagged India’s ‘unpredictable’ regulatory norms, high tariffs and market access restrictions as key impediments to bilateral trade, emphasised America’s continued interest in agriculture market access and conveyed that “worker-centric” policies will be the pivot for the Joe Biden administration’s approach to trade policy. 

After a four-year hiatus, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is on a visit to India to revive the US-India Trade Policy Forum. She highlighted that India US relationship is a top priority for president by Biden but also  pointed that the India-US bilateral trade never seems to quite live up to its significant potential. 

She highlighted that  stakeholders in the US are not happy with the restrictive trade measures, market access restrictions, unpredictable regulatory requirements and  high tariffs etc.She said that  “these are issues where we intend to make progress on and they will be on the top of my list while I am here”.

There is a major shift towards a “Workers-Centric’ focus in the US policy and President Biden is also convinced that  actions and policies of the US government  should look into how trade and trade agreements are affecting the lives of real working people, as per Katherine Tai. 

She also has shown interest in working closely with Indian government colleagues including Bhupendra Yadav, the Labour and Employment Minister on connecting trade more directly with working people. 

Sectors like services, digital economy, health related trade and agriculture  etc. are having huge potential for growth in both the countries. Hence reviving the Trade Policy Framework can help trade relationship of the two countries along with other important engagements, as per Tai.

Sustainability and climate change, vulnerable supply chain,promoting market oriented structures and principles are some shared challenges in front of India and the US. These are the areas that are ripe for closer collaboration now, Mrs Tai said, emphasising the US commitment to ensure a sustainable and robust trade partnership. 

Concerted efforts from our governments, civil societies, business and our people both workers and consumers, are the requirements  for delivering results and further integrating of our two Economics, as per Mrs Tai. 

On the rejuvenation of the trade policy after languishing for four years, the Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal was also happy and expressed confidence that the two sides will be able to resolve issues in an amicable manner and send a message to the world that the U.S. and India are strong partners. He said that citizens from both our countries look towards India US partnership with great hope and optimism. 

Minister Piyush Goyal recently spoke at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum annual general meeting and spoke of a trillion-dollar bilateral trade target between India and the U.S. by 2030. At present India-US bilateral trade is at $150 billion. 

We need increased foreign investments from the U.S. to achieve such a target. It is indeed positive to see the U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai in New Delhi and the trading community are hoping that the revived Trade Policy Forum (TPF) could lay the foundations for an early harvest deal.

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Md Layeeque Azam, Economics Faculty