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India, US to double trade in 3 years
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March 02, 2006 19:01 IST

India and the United States will double bilateral trade in three years by reducing trade and investment barriers and expand cooperation in agriculture.

They also agreed to continue efforts to facilitate and promote foreign direct investment and eliminate impediments to it, said a joint statement issued at the end of nearly two hours of talks between US President George Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

New Delhi and Washington, who agreed to work together in completing the WTO Doha Development Agenda before the 2006 end, will increase contact on various issues including tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and services, and preventing the illicit use of the financial system.

Increasing cooperation in agriculture, US would open up Indian mangoes and initiate talks on current regulations affecting Indian fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry and dairy and almonds entry into the US.

The joint statement also said US would 'recognise India as having the authority to certify that shipments of Indian products to the United States meet USDA organic standards.'

Agreeing to intensify efforts to develop a bilateral business climate supportive of trade and investment, India and US agreed to advance mutually beneficial bilateral trade and investment flows by holding a high-level public-private investment summit this year.

The two sides agreed to launch a 'knowledge initiative on agriculture' with a three-year financial commitment to link their universities, technical institutions, and businesses to support agriculture education, joint research, and capacity building projects including in the area of biotechnology.

The joint statement said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George Bush "agreed to India's participation in FutureGen, an international public-private partnership to develop new, commercially viable technology for a clean coal near-zero emission power project. India will contribute funding to the project and participate in the government steering committee of this initiative."

The two sides also welcomed creation of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which would enable India and US to work together with other countries in the region to pursue sustainable development and meet increased energy needs while addressing concerns of energy security and climate change.

"The partnership will collaborate to promote the development, diffusion, deployment and transfer of cleaner, cost-effective and more efficient technologies and practices," the statement said.

Noting the positive cooperation under the Indo-US Energy Dialogue, the two sides highlighted plans to hold joint conferences on topics such as energy efficiency and natural gas and would conduct study missions on renewable energy. They would establish a clearing house in India for coal-bed methane/coal mine methane and exchange energy market information.

Emphasising the importance of knowledge partnerships, New Delhi and Washington announced the establishment of a Bi-National Science and Technology Commission which the two countries would co-fund. It would generate collaborate partnerships in science and technology and promote industrial research and development.

"United States and India would work together to promote innovation, creativity and technological advancement by providing a vibrant intellectual property rights regime, and to cooperate in the field of intellectual property rights to include capacity building activities, human resource development and public awareness programmes," the joint statement said.

The two sides would continue exploring further cooperation in civil space, including areas such as space exploration, satellite navigation and earth science.

"US and India committed to move forward with agreements that will permit the launch of US satellites and satellites containing US components by Indian space launch vehicles, opening up new opportunities for commercial space cooperation between the two countries."

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