Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Saturday discussed ways to promote trade and investments between the two countries.
In a message on social media network X (formerly known as Twitter), Goyal said he held a bilateral meeting with the US counterpart Tai.
"Discussed key bilateral issues of mutual interest and explored ways to give further impetus to the growing India-US partnership through enhanced trade and investments," he said. An official has recently said that both countries are looking at ending their last trade dispute related to poultry in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Besides they are also looking at enhancing the partnership by permitting companies in both countries to participate in each others government procurement.
In July, India and the US mutually resolved six trade disputes pending at the WTO, in line with the commitment made by the two countries during the US visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June.
During Modi's US visit in June, a joint statement said that the prime minister had expressed India's interest towards being recognized as a Trade Agreements Act-designated country by the US to further enhance the integration of both economies and promote bilateral trade and investment.
In this regard, the two sides have welcomed the initiation of discussions at an official level on issues related to bilateral government procurement.
The poultry case was filed by the US against India in the WTO in 2012. India has lost the dispute both at the panel as well as the appellate body levels. It was ruled against India that New Delhi's ban on imports of poultry products from the US was inconsistent with global norms.
As India was not able to implement the decision within the stipulated time frame, the US demanded compensation. After that, both countries are discussing ways to resolve the case mutually.
The US is the largest trading partner of India. In 2022-23, the bilateral goods trade increased to USD 128.8 billion as against USD 119.5 billion in 2021-22.
Further, Goyal also held a bilateral meeting with UK Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch on the proposed free trade agreement between the two countries.
“Discussed ways to add further momentum to the India-UK free trade agreement negotiations for a mutually beneficial deal,” he added.
Negotiations for the agreement, which aims to boost trade and investment, have reached the last stage.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also met Badenoch and discussed bilateral investment and FTA.
Earlier in the day, Sitharaman met European Commission Executive Vice-President V Dombrovskis and discussed bilateral economic and financial issues of mutual interests.
Goyal also co-chaired the third High Level Dialogue (HLD) along with Valdis Dombrovskis here.
During the meeting, both sides took stock of ongoing three negotiations on India-EU Free Trade Agreement; Investment Protection Agreement; and a Geographical Indications Agreement.
They also discussed the market access issue of both sides and reviewed the progress made so far under the India-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC).
In a separate statement, Valdis Dombrovskis said that the EU is India's second-largest trading partner but there is still a lot of untapped potential.
He said that India would gain from tapping into the "world's biggest" single market.
There is a clear political willingness on both sides to make faster progress, he said adding the two sides must now use this momentum to bridge major gaps.
"We need to see good progress in terms of investment protection - important to attract further European investment to India," he added.
India and the 27-nation bloc resumed negotiations on June 17 last year after a gap of over eight years on the proposed agreements on trade, investments and Geographical Indications (GI).
India had started negotiations for a trade pact with the EU in 2007, but the talks stalled in 2013 as both sides failed to reach an agreement on key issues, including customs duties on automobiles and spirits and the movement of professionals.
India's merchandise exports to EU member countries have increased to USD 74.5 billion in 2022-23 from USD about USD 65 billion in 2021-22. Imports also rose to USD 60 billion in 2022-23 from USD 51.4 billion in 2021-22.
The EU accounts for about 17 per cent of India's total exports and about 8.5 per cent of the country's total imports.
Besides greater market access for its products like textiles, leather, gems and jewellery, the Indian industry is looking for easy access for skilled professionals in the EU markets. On the other hand, the EU side has an interest in areas like auto, digital trade, sustainability and financial services sectors like banking and insurance.