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Last Updated : Jul 17, 2020 01:40 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

India-US close to sealing limited trade deal; FTA under discussion

In response to Goyal’s concern on USA keeping 24 Indian products under Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) list Ross offered to set up a meeting between the labour department officials of both sides

India and the United States are a step closer to concluding the initial limited trade package and a possible Free Trade Agreement (FTA), after Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had an ‘informal tele-conversion’ with the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on July 16.

The conversation, which came a day after the India-US CEO Forum, centred on the ongoing India-USA trade discussions, and they “appreciated the substantial progress made by both sides on most of the outstanding issues,” a statement by the Commerce Ministry read.

“There was a desire expressed to conclude this initial limited trade package and recognising the complementarities of the India-USA bilateral trade, discussed the possibility of an FTA,” it said.

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Both also discussed the COVID-19 situation and appreciated the cooperation between India and the USA, the largest and oldest democracies of the world, in fighting the pandemic.

In response to Goyal’s concern on USA keeping 24 Indian products under Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) list and designating them as ‘child labour sectors’; thereby denying them the opportunity to participate in supply contracts of US government agencies, Secretary Ross offered to set up a meeting between the labour department officials of both sides.

Minister Goyal also flagged the pending ‘US-India Social Security Totalisation Agreement’, which had been also discussed during the visit of President Trump to India in February 2020. While appreciating India’s concern, Secretary Ross mentioned that the statutory requirements of the US have to be fulfilled by India in this regard. He offered to arrange a meeting between the US Social Security Administrator and concerned Indian officials to discuss and find a possible solution.

Goyal also raised a concern on ‘U.S. ban on import of wild catch shrimp from India’ on the premise that fishing practices followed in India were non-compliant with US regulations to protect sea turtles. He mentioned the various conservation measures taken by Indian maritime states in protecting the sea turtles.

Secretary Ross appreciated India’s concerns and agreed to facilitate a discussion between the officials of US state department and Office of Marine Conservation with the Indian Department of Fisheries and Ministry of Forest and Environment, in this regard.
First Published on Jul 17, 2020 01:28 pm
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