WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Tuesday and both agreed the newly relaunched U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum could help boost bilateral trade and reduce barriers, Tai’s office said.
Tai and one of her deputies, Sarah Bianchi, discussed bilateral trade relations and the implications of Russia’s war against Ukraine for global trade and economic developments, USTR said in a statement.
The meeting came a day after President Joe Biden told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that buying more oil from Russia was not in India’s interest and could hamper the U.S. response to the war in Ukraine.
The United States is seeking more help from the world’s largest democracy in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pressuring Moscow to halt what it calls a “special military operation.” U.S. officials say India has its own concerns about deepening ties between Russia and China.
Tai and Jaishankar also shared views on Biden’s initiative to launch an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework aimed at strengthening regional economic cooperation in critical areas such as supply chain resilience, USTR said.
Washington has signaled it has no intention of engaging with China in the new framework, which it sees as a way to push back against China’s bid to create a regional sphere of influence and become the world’s most influential power.
“They shared the perspective that the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF), re-launched in November 2021, holds substantial promise as a mechanism for expanding bilateral trade and reducing barriers, including with respect to trade in agriculture,” it added.
The two officials agreed to remain in touch as work continues toward a 2022 meeting of the U.S.-India trade forum, USTR said, but gave no specific date.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)