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India, US have 'almost closed' contours of limited trade pact: Goyal 

Outlook , Feb 25, 2020

India and the US have moved to the next level of engagement having 'almost closed' the final contours of limited trade package, and will come up with a comprehensive trade deal going forward, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.

Goyal was participating in the 'US-India Forum: Partners for Growth' conference here.

"On the economic front, having almost closed the last contours of the limited trade deal and with the announcement of a much larger trade deal in the offing, we have moved to a new level of engagement," Goyal said.

The minister said the engagement will help both sides on different fronts. While India will benefit by engaging with new technology, the US will gain by India becoming a big source for talent.

Sharing the government's vision, the minister said our goal is that by 2022, every family should have own home with 24 hours electricity, clean cooking gas, access to internet, and good school and health care around the home.

To reach the goal of making India a USD 5 trillion economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had extensive consultations with 80 ministries, entire council of ministers and senior bureaucracy to bring in the interconnect between different thought processes, he said.

Referring to the proposed trade deal between India and the US, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra said, "There are certain areas where you need the US to also open up the market to us, that is the discussion going on between the various ministries, between the US and India.

"Suffice to say that we need better understanding, something more akin to the kind of understanding we have at several other levels between the US and India. I am pretty sure that some kind of understanding will be reached," he said.

On the draft e-commerce policy on data storage which is presently under formulation, Mohapatra said every responsible country in the world wants to carve out its own space to decide what is good for the country and citizens.

"India hopes to make an FDI policy where it wants to protect its own interests, the citizens, the data interest, so that citizens can leverage on data where it is used commercially by others. At the same time trying to promote national security also," he said, adding that these are legitimate things which every other responsible country including the US does.

However, Mohapatra emphasised that the e-commerce policy will take care of both concerns, including how to carve out and protect the country's interests and at the same time how to align with the rest of the world so as to attract the best of the digital data companies which can invest in India.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Mohapatra said while the areas of concern are known, both sides have declared that they will continue to engage in formal and determined level of discussions.

 

 

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Event:

 US-India Forum: Partners for Growth