Commerce minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said India and the US will close the first end of a bilateral trade deal and get into its legal vetting soon. He said the two sides have decided to fast track talks for a larger free trade agreement (FTA), which will include market access, services, investment protocols and areas of mutual interest.
“Hopefully, we will close the first set of the limited engagement, which we have already discussed and finalised… We will get into legal vetting and close that quickly,” he said at a CII-USIBC event.
The minister said stakeholder talks will take place from both sides with industry groups on market access, opening up of services and investment protocols. “I can assure what will be done, will be done in the best interests of both countries. It will be an offer, at least from our side, that the US cannot refuse,” Goyal said.
At a separate event, he said there will be a lot more two-way trade.
“Having almost closed the last contours of the limited trade package that we have finalised and with the significant announcement of a much larger trade deal in the offing, I think we have moved to a new level of engagement where we are going to see a lot more two-way trade,” Goyal said at the Ficci US-India Forum event.
The minister said both PM Modi and President Trump have decided to formally engage to move towards a bilateral FTA.
When asked how fast India and the US can finalise an FTA, he said at the CII event: “We can trust each other, we can talk with openness and fairness… the two nations have decided to engage on a fast track basis. So, I certainly do not see that this will be like one of those FTA negotiations going for decades and years”.
Bilateral trade between India and the US in the April-December period was $68 billion.
Stating that getting $100 billion foreign investment per year will not be very difficult, Goyal said at the Ficci event the government will have to work towards loosening the regulatory mechanisms and initiatives to improve the synergy between the different wings of the government are on.
At the CII event, Michael J Walsh, Jr, chief of staff of the US Department of Commerce, said business communities can persuade the Indian government to go in a different direction as far as data localisation is concerned and that India’s intellectual property protection regime in the pharma industry “is not where it should be”.
“Data localisation is not worth fighting over,” he said.
To this, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra said India’s IPR regime is robust and legally sound, and India doesn’t allow ‘evergreening’ of patents, especially in pharma.
Source : Economic Times