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India, US hold high-level strategic and commercial dialogue on economic growth

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Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj co-chaired the first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue on economic growth.

Emphasising the importance of building commercial ties to drive the U.S.-India partnership forward, the two sides applauded the focus on innovation and entrepreneurship as an area for cooperation. They agreed to facilitate an innovation forum in 2016, a platform for U.S. and Indian entrepreneurs to share best practices in promoting a culture of innovation and the creation of sister innovation hubs.

The two sides launched a joint work stream on ‘Ease of Doing Business’. They agreed to continue exchanges of information and best practices on cross- border trade, and to continue commercial law-related initiatives on issues like insolvency and contract enforcement, and transparency.

They also agreed to expand cooperation through quarterly discussions on these and other related issues, as may be mutually decided.

The two sides acknowledged the discussions on ‘Totalisation’ held in August 2015 in Baltimore and welcomed the exchange of information on their respective social security systems.

The sides welcomed efforts toward the removal of barriers that impact their participation in global supply chains and sustained implementation of trade facilitation measures. They endorsed continued discussions on standards, in consultation with industry in both countries that will identify priority sectors where cooperation could lead to positive outcomes for bilateral trade.

They also announced a private sector-led collaboration between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to maintain and update a portal containing standards information for the use of industry, including small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The two sides agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in the development of reference materials between the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in India and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) in the United States. They committed to exchanges between certain regulators with a view to minimizing regulatory barriers to bilateral trade.

Building on the success of the 2014 U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue on corrosion control, the sides agreed to continue this public-private collaboration. They recognized India’s work to launch a National Mission on Corrosion Control Technologies and Standards.

Responding to India’s request for support in developing evaluation techniques for massive open online courses and distance education courses, the United States agreed to facilitate discussions with U.S. industry experts specializing in this subject.

Reflecting that the strength of a nation depends on the health of its people, the two sides reviewed progress from the first meeting of the U.S.-Health Dialogue, welcoming recent cooperative agreements to enhance cooperation in the field of cancer research, prevention, control and management, environmental and occupational health and injuries prevention and control.

Both sides agreed to discuss a mutually agreed action plan and joint initiatives, including capacity building, to carry forward cooperation on women’s economic empowerment, among other women’s issues.

The U.S. affirmed that it stands ready to assist in India’s ambitious goal of providing skills training to 400 million people over the next decade. In anticipation of the next Higher Education Dialogue, the U.S. side intends to create new programs to build capacity for curriculum and teacher development. (ANI)