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Nunes Opening Statement: Hearing on U.S.-India Trade Relations: Opportunities and Challenges

March 13, 2013

Good morning.  I want to welcome our panel of witnesses and everyone else to our hearing on U.S.-India trade relations.

It is an honor and a privilege to be chairing my first hearing as Trade Subcommittee Chairman and to be serving with my colleague, Ranking Member Charlie Rangel.

Under Chairman Camp and Chairman Brady’s leadership, the previous Congress passed seven bipartisan trade bills.  These achievements show that Congress and the White House – Republicans and Democrats – can come together to pursue pro-growth, pro-job policies.  We must now accelerate this momentum so that U.S. businesses, farmers, ranchers, and workers will find new opportunities abroad – where 95% of the world’s consumers live.    

That takes us to the focus of today’s hearing.  India has risen rapidly since its market opening reforms in the early 1990s – its GDP has grown from $275 billion in 1991 to $1.8 trillion in 2012.  Nevertheless, India remains the largest recipient of benefits under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences.  This is a program that expires this July and an issue the Committee must deal with.  The U.S.-India strategic partnership is a key relationship, with bilateral trade in goods and services rising from minuscule amounts 25 years ago to more than $86 billion a year now.  But there is scope for much more. With a population of over 1.2 billion, India’s market holds huge potential for world-class U.S. products and services.  I want to ensure that U.S. job creators compete there on a level playing-field.

This hearing will provide an opportunity for the Committee to explore the positive aspects of the U.S.-India economic relationship as well as to examine India’s tariff and non-tariff barriers that are acting as impediments.  In particular, I want to examine the following issues:

  • Deepening and expanding the long-term trade and investment relationship. 
  • Understanding the existing U.S.-India bilateral fora for discussions and how they can be more effective in addressing bilateral irritants and establishing metrics for measuring progress.
  • Addressing India’s troubling use of forced localization in key sectors.
  • Ensuring India’s protection of intellectual property rights.
  • Addressing agricultural market access barriers to ensure a level-playing field for U.S. farmers and ranchers.
  • Completing a Bilateral Investment Treaty, addressing investment caps, and exploring new bilateral investment opportunities, which are all vital to U.S. growth; and
  • Partnering with India to advance negotiations at the WTO, including “post-Doha” issues such as Information Technology Agreement expansion, a trade facilitation agreement, and the International Services Agreement negotiations that are about to be launched in Geneva.

I look forward to having a comprehensive discussion today about promoting economic growth and job creation by solving difficult bilateral issues and strengthening U.S.-India ties.