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U.S. trade report flags challenges from ‘Make in India’ policy

The marketing campaign epitomises the challenges going through bilateral trade ties, U.S. Congress informed

The U.S. tried to resolve “long-standing market access impediments affecting U.S. exporters” with India throughout 2020, says the 2021 President’s Trade Agenda and 2020 Annual Report — an annual report submitted by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to Congress. The report phrases India’s insurance policies “trade-restrictive” and saying the “Make in India” marketing campaign epitomises the challenges to the trade relationship.

“While India’s large market, economic growth, and progress towards development make it an essential market for many U.S. exporters, a general and consistent trend of trade-restrictive policies have inhibited the potential of the bilateral trade relationship. Recent Indian emphasis on import substitution through a “Make in India” marketing campaign has epitomized the challenges going through the bilateral trade relationship,” the report says. The Make in India marketing campaign was launched by Prime Minister Modi in 2014 to incentivise manufacturing in India.

The report describes the Trump administration’s revocation of India’s preferential buying and selling standing below the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program in June 2019 and the following dialogue to attain a mini trade deal (“package”) all through 2020.

“U.S. objectives in this negotiation included resolution of various non-tariff barriers, targeted reduction of certain Indian tariffs, and other market access improvements. The United States also engaged with India on an ongoing basis throughout 2020 in response to specific concerns affecting the full range of pressing bilateral trade issues, including intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement, policy development affecting electronic commerce and digital trade, and market access for agricultural and non-agricultural goods and services,” the report mentioned.

Unresolved

These points stay unresolved, leaving inconclusive, negotiations that lasted till near the tip of the Trump administration.

In a country-wise part on Digital Service Tax (DST), a Section 301 investigation on India’s DST, which started in June final 12 months, is highlighted. The investigation is ongoing, as per the report.

India finds a complete of 179 mentions in the report which is over 300 pages lengthy. Many of the mentions are in a chapter on trade enforcement actions — describing disputes introduced by the U.S. on the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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