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"US, India decision to end trade disputes result of visionary leadership": Piyush Goyal

New Delhi : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday highlighted the resolution of six outstanding World Trade Organisation (WTO) disputes between the US and India through mutually agreed solutions as jointly communicated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden during the former's ongoing, maiden official State visit to the country. Speaking to media persons in the national capital, the minister lauded the "visionary leadership" of the leaders of both countries in taking this historic decision, which enhances the trust and partnership between the two countries. According to a statement issued by the US Trade Representative's office, India and the US have agreed to resolve six outstanding disputes at the WTO. "Coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit, the US has reached an agreement with India to resolve several key trade issues, including the termination of six WTO disputes and India's removal of retaliatory tariffs on certain US products," it said. The statement was issued after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in Washington on Thursday. "The six trade disputes that will be terminated are as follows: three of them have been filed by India against the USA namely, Countervailing Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Carbon Steel Flat Products from India (DS436); Certain Measures Relating to the Renewable Energy Sector (DS510); and Certain Measures on Steel and Aluminum Products (DS547). While the other three disputes, which have been filed by the USA against India are: Certain Measures Relating to Solar Cells and Solar Modules (DS456); Export Related Measures (DS541), and Additional Duties on Certain Products from the United States (DS585)," the statement quoted the Union minister as saying.Goyal added that India and the US have actively engaged in discussions during the last two years to terminate these six outstanding disputes at the WTO. "These disputes have been filed by India and the US over a decade, representing certain key sectors of the economy such as steel, aluminium, renewable energy, solar products, and certain key export-related measures. This Mutually Agreed Solution (MAS) negotiated by both sides marks the culmination of protracted negotiations, and it is unprecedented in WTO history," he added. As a part of the agreement, the US has agreed to grant market access to steel and aluminium products under the exclusion process of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act 1962. India has agreed to remove the additional duty such as retaliatory tariffs on certain products. However, the prevailing basic import duty on these products applicable to all imports will continue. "This market access will restore opportunities for Indian steel and aluminium exporters, which were restricted since June 14, 2018, because of the US 232 measure under which additional duties of 25 per cent and 10 per cent were levied on steel and aluminium products respectively," the statement quoted the Union minister as saying. "As part of the market access, going forward, the US Department of Commerce will clear 70 per cent of steel and 80 per cent of aluminium applications for products originating in India," he added.

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