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For Immediate Release: March 2, 2006

U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue

President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to revitalize the bilateral multiagency Economic Dialogue when they met in Washington last July. To fulfill that commitment, the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce and India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry have taken steps to revitalize our part of the Economic Dialogue - the Commercial Dialogue. Both sides are now fully committed to regular contact at all levels to discuss nuts-and-bolts issues that affect doing business in each other's markets.

Under the ITA-led Commercial Dialogue, we have been holding a number of substantive public-private sessions on standards, in which we discussed general principles on how standards are established, administered and enforced by both countries. Standards barriers are consistently cited by business as one of the largest impediments to expanding market presence in India. Both sides now have a better understanding of these principles. Currently we are working with the Indian Government to expand our discussions to sector-specific issues such as environmental technologies, electrical products, and medical devices.

In view of this successful series of exchanges on standards, ITA Under Secretary Franklin L. Lavin and India's Secretary of Commerce S.N. Menon have agreed that the Commercial Dialogue should be elevated, enhanced, and expanded and that it would demonstrate greater engagement by the two private sectors. The expanded agenda for the Commercial Dialogue will cover intellectual property rights enforcement, antidumping and countervailing duty procedures, and commercial opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises.