For the first time, some of the most important automobile industry associations in the world will be at the Auto Expo this year and participate in a trade dialogue hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and Auto Component Manufacturers' Association.
Washington DC-based Automotive Trade Policy Council known as "club of three" (DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation) will be represented by its president Stephen J Collins.
Expo organisers say Collins will discuss non-tariff barriers faced by big automobile companies in some of the growing markets. However, the American Embassy does not know about his itinerary.
What is discussed at the Auto Expo will have serious bearing on the Global Auto Industry Dialogue to be held in Geneva, say sources in the industry.
Apart from the US body, Verband der Automobilindustire (VDA) of Germany, Thai Association, AISI of Indonesia, Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association, Federation of Asian Motorcycle Industries and a government trade group from the Philippines will also be present.
"While tariff barriers are discussed at the WTO where the government plays an active role, we will use this forum to discuss non-tariff barriers. Customs related issues causing delays in shipments, the compulsory made-in-India labelling policy prevalent in some markets and IPR-related problems in some of the big markets will be discussed," said a representative of the Indian automobile industry.
While regional and free-trade agreements between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries continue to be the main topics, this time around, the focus is on creating institutional relationship between the developed automobile markets and the emerging markets.
"The big idea is to bring the Asean countries into global dialogues and sensitise them to key issues that can be taken up later at the Global Auto Industry Dialogue," said a SIAM official.
Unlike some of the emerging manufacturing hubs, the Indian government does not link duty concessions with localisation of content. Many such issues will be discussed at the Auto Expo 2006.The trade bodies are among 200 overseas participants coming to the Auto Expo from 20 countries. Country-specific pavilions to watch out for are China, Germany, Italy, Iran, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.