India must try for Quadrilateral FTA after closing US trade deal, suggests USISPF

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NEW DELHI: A key cross-national industry body has pitched for an economic partnership deal between India, the United States, Japan and Australia – an informal security forum commonly known as the Quad, for Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

New Delhi should look at closing a small trade deal with the United States before the US Presidential elections in November – which would build confidence between the two countries – followed by a Free Trade Agreement and then a larger trade deal, said Mukesh Aghi, president of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).

“We have a quad…which is geopolitically aligned… we should look at beyond a trade agreement or FTA between India and the US; we should look at an FTA between the Quad,” Aghi told ET.

Aghi said American companies were evincing keen interest in investing in India as a manufacturing alternative to China, but said roadblocks such as policy unpredictability, lack of infrastructure and unwarranted litigation should be removed to ensure ease of doing business while managing global supply chains in a federal environment.

“As the stress deepens between US and China, US companies are under a lot of pressure to look at their investment strategy. The interest (for India) is very strong… the momentum with India is still building up,” Aghi said.

Earlier this week, the United States asked China to shut its consulate in Texas. In retaliation, Bejing asked Washington to close its consulate in Chengdu, in fresh tensions between the two countries.

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