Obama, Modi vow to strengthen economic and trade ties

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President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed on Tuesday to continue strengthening their economic and trade ties. 

During Modi’s visit to Washington, the leaders said they would ramp up engagement on intellectual property rights while agreeing to make travel easier between their two nations for a broad range of visitors including professionals and students. 

{mosads}U.S. business groups have expressed frustration about the lack of progress on the sensitive issue of intellectual property rights and have urged Modi and his government to ramp up protections that they say would attract more foreign investment and boost India’s economic growth.

Obama and Modi said that the two nations reaffirmed their commitment to using the high-level working group on intellectual property “to continue to make concrete progress on IPR issues by working to enhance bilateral cooperation among the drivers of innovation and creativity in both countries.”

They said they planned to identify concrete steps on the intellectual property issue during the second annual Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in India later this year. 

“A key priority for both of us is how to promote economic prosperity and opportunity, and poverty alleviation for our people,” Obama said during a press availability at the White House earlier Tuesday.

“We continue to discuss a wide range of areas where we can cooperate more effectively in order to promote jobs, promote investment, promote trade, and promote greater opportunities for our people, particularly young people, in both of our countries,” the president said.

The two leaders also “pledged to explore new opportunities to break down barriers to the movement of goods and services, and support deeper integration into global supply chains, thereby creating jobs and generating prosperity in both economies” as an avenue to substantially increasing bilateral trade.

Modi noted that India is a country with 800 million people who are younger than 35 years old. 

“The United States is well aware of the talent that India has,” Modi said. “We and the United States can work together to bring forward this talent, and use it for the benefit of mankind and use it for the benefit of innovations and use it to achieve new progress.”

Modi said he would meet with the president in September on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit.

The two leaders also said they would increase engagement on trade and investment issues under the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) and encouraged substantive results for the next forum later this year. They also encouraged the participation of U.S. businesses in India’s Smart City program.  

The United States said that it welcomes India’s interest in joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which is a pathway toward joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the future.

As part of the plan to increase travel between the two countries they signed a memorandum of understanding and resolved to complete procedures for India’s entry into the Global Entry Program within the next three months. 

The also agreed to continue pursuing a U.S.-India Totalization Agreement later this year.  

Tags India–United States relations Narendra Modi President Obama Trans-Pacific Partnership
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