India, US agree to resolve issues related to visa, totalisation agreement

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india and the United States have committed to
continue engagement to resolve issues related to
visa, movement of professionals and totalisation
agreement.

These issues were deliberated upon during the
meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister
Nirmala Sitharaman and US Trade Representative
Michael Froman. They met under the 10th India-
US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting on
Thursday.
“The US and India also decided to continue their
engagement on visa issues, and their shared
resolve to facilitate the movement of professionals,
experts, and scientific personnel into the respective
countries,” the joint statement said.
INDIA, US TO ENGAGE ON TOTALISATION PACT
The two countries acknowledged the ongoing
discussions on totalisation and resolved to
continue their engagement on the elements
required in both countries in order to pursue a
bilateral totalisation agreement,” it said.

India is insisting on starting negotiations for the
early conclusion of the totalisation agreement or
social security pact as its absence restricts
movement of Indian IT professionals.
On the issue of intellectual property (IP), both the
countries emphasised the role of robust and
balanced IPR (Intellectual Property Rights)
protection in fostering creativity, promoting
innovation and attracting investment, taking into
account the interests of all stakeholders, including
the public.
The leaders reiterated the “goal of ensuring that
the poorest populations in India and the US have
access to quality healthcare and recognised the
important role that trade, IP and innovation policies
play in enhancing access to quality health and
affordable medicines,” it said.
Froman urged for a transparent notice and
comment process to implement and evaluate
India’s national IPR policy.
OTHER ISSUES DISCUSSED
Both countries voiced concern about the
unauthorised recording, including camcording of
films in cinemas and copyright piracy on websites,
it said.
On the issue of protecting trade secrets, the
leaders expressed commitment for its strong
protection in their respective countries and to
continue engagement on effective trade secret
protection mechanisms.
“A toolkit would be prepared for industry,
especially SMEs, to highlight applicable laws and
policies that may enable them to protect their
trade secrets in India. A training module for
judicial academies on trade secrets may also be
considered,” it added.
“A further study on various legal approaches for
the protection of trade secrets will also be
undertaken by India, it said.
It also said that the ministers agreed to explore
mechanisms through technical discussions to
address market access issues and trade costs for
pharmaceutical products and medical devices in a
manner that benefits patients and provides
healthcare services and products.
SUGGESTIONS SOUGHT ON IRDAI DRAFT
On the Insurance Regulation and Development
Authority of India (IRDAI) exposure draft on public
listing in the insurance sector, India invited the US
to offer comments on the draft guidelines relating
to public listing.
Trade ministers of both the countries pledged to
deepen bilateral engagement in 2017 to promote
digital economy through a free and open Internet
and explore the adoption of joint principles that
ensure that the Internet remains open to the free
exchange of ideas, goods and services.
They also discussed efforts to increase
transparency through publication, expedite the
movement of goods through customs processes,
reduce documentation, and improve supply chain
connectivity through single-window clearance
systems that will benefit all manufacturing
activities in both countries, the statement said.
“Both countries noted each other’s requests and
agreed to follow up on exploring the possibility of
enhanced market access in services and goods
sectors,” it added.
FROMAN MEETS JAITLEY
USTR Froman also met Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley and discussed bilateral ties.
In agri sector, both the sides agreed to continue
working to facilitate bilateral trade in food and
agricultural products and committed to holding
technical dialogues on animal health, plant health,
and food issues during 2017.
“Both countries recognise the need to establish
science- and risk-based regulations and
procedures that are based on international
standards and guidelines set by CODEX
Alimentarius, the World Organisation for Animal
Health, and the International Plant Protection
Convention,” it said.
They also agreed to share best practices between
their Sanitary and Phytosanitary enquiry points.
It said that the US acknowledged India’s
suggestion to work towards conformity-based
assessment system and mutual recognition
systems for food products to facilitate exports.
ENHANCED MARKET ACCESS FOR AGRICULTURE
PRODUCTS
Sitharaman and Froman noted each other’s
requests and agreed to follow up on exploring the
possibility of enhanced market access on identified
agricultural products.
While India is seeking access for mangoes, grapes
and rice, the US is wants more for its cherries and
alfalfa hay.
“The US agreed to a timely review of the
information submitted by export of grapes from
India. Subsequent to the receipt of additional
information from the US, India agreed for a timely
review of the request for export of US cherries and
alfalfa hay,” it added.
America also agreed to further collaboration to
facilitate Indian rice and honey exports.
Further, the US and India discussed regulation
relating to end-use information for boric acid,
imported and domestic, used for non-insecticidal
purposes.
“Both sides agreed to discuss US concerns
regarding market access for dairy products. US
concerns on GM and licensing issues were noted
by India,” it added.

The two-way bilateral goods and services trade
has reached USD 109 billion in 2015.
The Ministers recognised that for economies of
their size, a great deal of potential remains.
Both sides agreed to continue their efforts for
exploring possibilities for opening up the markets
as well as for expansion of the share of existing
trade to each other’s territory.

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