India, U.S. establish new trade group to bolster supply chains

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and India's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, poses for a picture before start of their meeting in New Delhi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India and the United States have established a new working group to build sustainable supply chains and boost bilateral trade, the governments said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The working group will initially focus on trade facilitation, digitization of customs procedures, issues related to sustainable finance and the scaling up of innovative clean technologies, according to the statement issued after a Trade Policy Forum meeting in Washington D.C.

At a meeting co-chaired by India's trade minister, Piyush Goyal, and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the countries also agreed to continue close monitoring of visa issues and increase dialogue on food and agricultural trade issues in 2023.

The United States will also consider India's interest in the restoration of beneficiary status under the U.S. generalized system of preferences program, the statement added.

The Trade Policy Forum, revived in 2021 after a gap for four years, will reconvene on a ministerial level before end of 2023.

The two countries said they mean to continue to work together on resolving outstanding trade issues.

"Waiting for all-or-nothing comprehensive agreements will only slow our shared goal of achieving a $500 billion trade relationship," the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's U.S.-India Business Council, Atul Keshap, said in a statement.

Goyal also said the two countries are looking at larger bilateral footprints for trade and investments than mini deals, with a focus on greater market access and ease of doing business.

U.S. companies are also looking to invest more in India, he added.

"U.S. companies have ambitious plans and are looking to invest large capital and bring technology to India," Goyal said in a statement released on Thursday.

(Writing by Sakshi Dayal and Shivangi Acharya; editing by Sudipto Ganguly, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Kim Coghill)