World

India-US should drive economic agenda under Quad umbrella, says trade body chief

ANI | November 18, 2021 04:40 PM
US-India Strategic Partnership Forum President and CEO Mukesh Aghi (Photo/ANI)

By Reena Bhardwaj

Washington [US], November 18 (ANI): The United States has lately reiterated that China is the biggest adversary not just for them, but also for their key allies such as India in the Indo-Pacific region.

Top US trade official Ambassador Katherine Tai's meeting with her counterparts in Japan, South Korea and India, but not China to discuss economic issues, flags how the Biden administration is seeking to build stronger economic ties in the region, including India.

Taking forward the same conversation, US-India Strategic Partnership Forum President and CEO Mukesh Aghi has said that the economic agenda under the quadrilateral pact known as Quad plays a very critical role and India-US should drive the economic agenda under the Quad Umbrella.

Dr Aghi further said that the QUAD - US, India, Japan, Australia - will play a critical role in determining how to tackle the Chinese threat globally, especially in the Indo-Pacific Region.

"The Biden administration has decided, along with Republicans, that China is an adversary... On a bigger QUAD perspective, the economic agenda plays a very critical role," Dr Aghi told ANI shedding light on the US-India economic partnership.

"It is important that you basically drive the economic agenda under the QUAD umbrella, pick up the key items on the US side pick up the key items on the India side and work on those and how you can get the exporting import going in that direction," he told ANI further.

Ambassador Tai's 10-day trip includes meetings with her counterparts and other stakeholders in three Asian countries. After meeting top Japanese officials and labour leaders Wednesday and Thursday, the top US official is scheduled to meet her counterparts in Seoul.

On Friday and Saturday, she will co-chair a meeting of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement and meet with women leaders. In New Delhi, she will attend the US-India Trade Policy Forum before returning to Washington.

US Trade Representative during her meetings in New Delhi will stress issues from supply-chain resilience to the digital economy to pandemic response.

President Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi back in September agreed to reconvene the bilateral trade forum inactive since 2018. Even though Indian officials are interested in signing a mini bilateral trade deal, however, Washington is focused on improving US domestic economy.

Aghi added that the previous Republican administration led by Donald Trump was "very close" to a "mini trade deal with India", but now the internal politics in the US is "much more complicated".

"Don't try to boil the ocean. I think when I say that, you cannot have an FTA. To look at the last 10 years, India has not done a single FTA. And so I think we need to look at a piecemeal approach to the whole economic agenda, " recommends Dr Aghi.

"The issue now is much more complicated, it's about data localization, it's is about data protection, it's about privacy. So the complexity is much bigger than what it was five years, 10 years," Aghi said. (ANI)

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