Set-up Task Force to resolve India-US trade policy issues - ICC

The rising protectionist sentiments and the prevailing geopolitical tensions are hurting not only the overall global trade but also creating trade policy uncertainties.

The ongoing US-China trade relations and tariff retaliations are likely to present opportunities for countries in the Indo-Pacific region, especially India. The dynamics of these uncertainties were discussed in a panel discussion organized by International Chamber of Commerce.

Panelist :

* Ashok Sajjanhar - President, Indian Institute of Global Studies and former ambassador to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia.

* Navtej Sarna - Former Ambassador of India to the US.

* Sanjaya Baru - Former prime Minister Media Advisor and former Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

* Vikramjit Singh Sahney - Padma Shri, a well-known enterprenueur, philanthropist and President of International Chambers of Commerce.

* Rajeev Kher - Former Commerce Secretary

* Harinder Sekhon - Counsultant at Vivekanand International Foundation

"India's strategic cooperation with the US can move ahead only with enhanced economic cooperation," said Vikramjit Singh Sahney, President of ICC.

"A cordial India-US trade relation is very important for both the countries as US will also suffer because it has a large market in India including defence, aerospace, agri products etc", he added.

This was the context in which a panel discussion took place in New Delhi. Participating in the discussion were global trade specialists, economists, former Indian Ambassadors and diplomats. Mr Suresh Prabhu, the Prime Minister's Sherpa for G20 and G7 was the Chief Guest at the discussion.

"With its lucrative prospects as the fastest growing economy, expanding consumption patterns, and increasing weightage in the global geo-economic order, India certainly can find an opportunity to woo investors who are looking for options beyond China and also tap into export opportunities in both the countries," he further added.

"Entire Indo-Asian-Pacific region is dependent on Indo-US trade relations. And US will never have a strategic partner like market size of India. Rajiv Kher, former Commerce Secretary added that e-commerce and data localization is across the globe and not only in India and US. So the US needs to look on this issue also along with strengthening the trade relation", said Navtej Sarna, Former Ambassador of India to the US.

Ashok Sajjanhar, President, Institute of Global Studies and former Indian Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia expressed that there has been lack of engagement at the highest level and we also have to identify the areas like import to resolve the tension. Panelist also expressed how India has emerged as a growing power and leads by example of its friendly policies like Make in India, providing facilities for manufacturing to the foreign companies.

The experts were of the opinion that India was all set to achieving its aspirations to become Asia's biggest manufacturing hub and creating jobs for its enormous workforce through additional investments and modern technology from developed countries. They suggested that a conducive policy environment and synchronized US-India agenda would be key to determine the likelihood of these opportunities for India.

"Indo - US bonds have been strong for very long time. We believe in expanding global trade and the fact is that, world's trade growth rate is faster than the world's economy growth rate. For me, ICC means bringing business together and these intelligent minds have been engaged in the technology advancement worldwide. We see more opportunities in the times to come with the relations getting even stronger", said Suresh Prabhu.

The discussion was also joined by the venerated panelist who was former Prime Minister's Media adviser, Dr Sanjaya Baru.

"The primary reason for the ongoing challenges between India and US trade relations is India's rise. India's rise has become threat to US that is why US is trying to suppress India", he said.

Baru was also the former Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

"India needs to constantly engage and lobby at various levels to improve ties with US and a task force should be set up to talk about the technology issues", said Dr Harinder Sekhon, Consultant at Vivekananda International Foundation.

"India-US trade in recent past have come across few challenges and this discussion was held keeping in view those challenges that how to overcome those challenges and what are the opportunities ahead. I believe India is in a win-win situation and it has a well defined offset policy. I hope the excerpts of this discussion will further help in policy making for trade relations between these two nations", said Vikramjit Singh Sahney, President of ICC.

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