[Ip-health] Top US official told to defer India trip

Shailly Gupta shailly.gupta at geneva.msf.org
Mon Feb 24 23:33:07 PST 2014


Trade war: Top US official told to defer India trip

Wendy Cutler was expected to be in the country towards the end of March to
hold bilateral consultations on several trade and investment issues.



Sidhartha, TNN | Feb 25, 2014, 01.16AM IST

NEW DELHI: Amid the ongoing trade spat, the government has advised
dy-Cutler> deputy US trade representative Wendy Cutler to defer her planned
trip to India next month in the view of the "flux" as well as the fiscal
year-end commitments of officials. 

"Our ministers will be busy with the general elections and officials in the
ministries will be rushing to meet the financial commitments before the end
of the financial year. So, we are suggesting that she postpones her trip by
a few months," said a senior government official. 

While US trade representative (
<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/USTR> USTR) Micheal Froman is
unable to come to India for the Trade Policy Forum Meeting as dates have not
been finalized, Cutler was expected to be in the country towards the end of
March to hold bilateral consultations on several trade and investment
issues, which were described as "routine discussions" by government

Although the officials said the proposed deferment has nothing to do with
the fact finding mission of the US International Trade Commission (USITC)
and USTR's hearing on super 301 provisions, the latest development comes at
a time when the ministry of external affairs has advised officials to avoid
meeting two low-ranking USITC officials, who had sought appointments with
various government functionaries. On Saturday, TOI was the first to report
that the government had hardened its stance.

Even in case of USITC, the ministry of external affairs is expected to cite
the March-end commitments and parliamentary elections, besides the short
notice given for the long list of consultations by John Giamalva and Michael
Stanton-Geddes during their India trip. "It was very challenging to organize
these meetings at such a short notice," said an official. 

Sources in the government said the US authorities only contacted the Indian
government last week for the duo's fact-finding fortnight-long visit, which
included a two-day trip to Gujarat. In addition, there were requests for
meeting with several too-ranking Indian officials, including Planning
Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The others with whom
meetings had been sought included secretaries in the departments of
commerce, industrial policy and promotion, heavy industry, telecom, IT,
revenue, financial services, revenue, urban development, pharma, mines,
agriculture, renewable energy, corporate affairs and health, in addition to
several other officers.



Shailly Gupta

Advocacy and Communication Officer

MSF Access Campaign

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