India is finalising dates for the trade policy forum (TPF) with the US, in which issues such as visa and greater market access for goods are expected to be taken up. US authorities have sought fixing of the date for the meeting, Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. Sitharaman, who held the Commerce and Industry portfolio before being named the Defence Minister in today’s Cabinet reshuffle, said: “We will have to talk with the US on trade policy-related matters. We will definitely give the dates and are discussing that.”
After the Trump administration took power, this will be the first formal interaction between trade authorities of the two sides. The last meeting was held in October. The forum was set up in 2005 and the meeting is co- chaired by the Indian commerce minister and the US Trade Representative (USTR), with an aim to expand bilateral trade and investment.
The four working groups under this forum are on intellectual property, promoting investment in manufacturing, services and agriculture. In the previous meeting, both sides had committed to continue engagement to resolve issues related to visa, movement of professionals and totalisation pact.
Under this agreement, professionals of both will be exempted from social security taxes when they go to work for a short period in the other country.