While the two sides reported no breakthroughs at the Trade
Policy Forum, they did set out a work schedule to follow up on
talks that focused on agriculture, services, manufacturing and
intellectual property rights, a joint statement said.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said he was cautiously
optimistic after the talks, but played down hopes of major
"deliverables" at President Barack Obama's visit to India in
January, his second after a trip in 2010.
Froman welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India"
drive to bring about a Chinese-style manufacturing boom, as well
as initiatives to spread access to digital services and build
But he also urged India to keep its market open and ensure that
foreign investors can operate in a "transparent, predictable and
"Expectations are very high and it would be important to
translate those expectations into concrete measures on the
ground," he told a news briefing after the talks with Commerce
Minister Nirmala Sithamaran.
Direct contacts between Obama and Modi this month helped end a
deadlock that had prevented the World Trade Organization from
implementing a $1 trillion package of reforms to global customs
But, even though trade between the world's two largest
democracies has grown fivefold since the turn of the millennium
to around $100 billion, friction persists on areas from drug
patents to local content rules for manufacturers.
Froman said that Tuesday's talks had set out a "robust" work
plan for the year ahead. Officials from the Indian side said
that there were no breakthroughs on Tuesday, but also said that
trade discussions would be intensified.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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