The US Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan on Friday urged India to remove the market access barriers that adversely impact foreign companies and impedes India's own integration into global supply chains.
Speaking at the India-US Forum here, Sullivan said: While bilateral trade between the United States and India hit a new record -- USD 142 billion last year -- the potential for our economic partnership is far greater. As we continue our discussions on trade issues, we urge India to remove those market access barriers that adversely impact those companies outside of India...Anything that impedes India's own integration into global supply chains."
Since June, trade talks between both sides had slowed down after Washington rolled back the privileges that New Delhi was enjoying under the Generalised System of Preferences programme (GSP).
The GSP, implemented since 1974, is the largest and oldest US trade-preference scheme and it allows duty-free imports for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.
On its part, India had also imposed retaliatory tariffs on 25 American goods, after the Donald Trump administration announced an end to the preferential trade treatment for India over the trade barriers.
During US State Secretary Mike Pompeo's visit to New Delhi in June, the two countries had acknowledged that trade related differences needed to be sorted out.
Sullivan said that 'Quad', an informal strategic grouping consisting of four countries - US, India, Japan, and Australia - is an important mechanism to discuss the need for a shared and complementary vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
"Our engagement is also multilateral. Since November 2017, we have held four quadrilateral consultations on the Indo-Pacific with India, Japan, and Australia -- known informally as the Quad. This is an important mechanism for senior officials from our four countries to discuss our shared and complementary vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region and to explore opportunities for cooperation," he said.
Quoting Secretary of State Michael Pompeo's speech at the India Ideas Summit, Sullivan said Washington "believes that our two nations have a unique opportunity to move forward together, for the good of both of our peoples, the Indo-Pacific region and the world".
"Together we are seizing this opportunity by growing our 2+2 Dialogue, working together to counter the scourge of terrorism and maintaining freedom of navigation in the South China Sea," he remarked.
The US diplomat said that India has foreseen the "great potential" for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Welcoming India's revised guidelines to facilitate cross-border electricity trade in the BBIN (Bhutan-Bangladesh-India-Nepal) region, Sullivan stressed, "The new rules allow Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan to trade electricity through Indian transmission lines."
"In turn, India and Nepal are looking to construct a new transmission line which will strengthen connectivity and power security and facilitate Nepal's clean energy export," he said.