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Goyal-Tai meet: US to ‘consider’ GSP benefits restoration

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai co-chaired a meeting of the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) to discuss key issues in trade between the two nations, marking the first TPF between the two since 2017.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
November 24, 2021 2:35:08 am
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and USTR Katherine Tai at the 12th Trade Policy Forum meeting. (Source: via Twitter @PiyushGoyal)

India and the United States have committed to mutually improving market access for certain agricultural products, and the latter has agreed to look at restoring India’s GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) status, according a joint statement issues by the two countries on Tuesday.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai co-chaired a meeting of the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) to discuss key issues in trade between the two nations, marking the first TPF between the two since 2017. “The ministers welcomed the agreement to finalise work on market access facilitation for mangoes and pomegranates, pomegranate arils from India, and cherries and alfalfa hay for animal feed from the US,” the joint statement said.

A government official said both nations are set to draw up timelines to resolve 35-40 trade related issues in 3-12 months.

India’s mango exports to the US came to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic as sanitary check requirements, including the arrival of a US phytosanitary inspector to monitor sanitization processes, could not be completed. India is also set to facilitate the sale of US cherries and alfalfa hay for animal feed through a phytosanitary certification process. The US has also agreed to work to complete India’s request for table grapes exports while New Delhi agreed to work to facilitate the imports of American pork and pork products.

“On GSP, they have agreed to look at restoring GSP,” said the official, noting that such a proposal would have to be approved by the Congress. India exported $6.3 billion of goods to the US under the GSP program in 2018. The joint statement said that India’s request for restoration of GSP status “could be considered, as warranted in relation to the eligibility criteria determined by the US Congress.”

Goyal recently indicted India’s interest in starting negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US and called for the two to “engage in a much bigger way”.

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