On September 22, 2015, United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker welcomed India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman for the first U.S. - India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue held in Washington, DC.
According to the joint statement on the event published by the U.S. Department of State:
Both Sides assessed that ties between the United States and India have never been stronger - as reflected by unprecedented strategic cooperation, record levels of bilateral trade and investment, and more than 2 million annual visits between their citizens, students, and entrepreneurs.
The Sides pledged to build on this momentum by pursuing new areas of collaboration, leveraging the talents of government and the private sector to make their nations more secure and prosperous.
The statement goes on to directly cite the renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as a key concrete deliverable that came out of the dialogue. [see related article]
Specifically, the statement reads:
The Sides welcomed efforts toward the removal of barriers that impact their participation in global supply chains and sustained implementation of trade facilitation measures. They endorsed continued discussions on Standards, in consultation with industry in both countries that will identify priority sectors where cooperation could lead to positive outcomes for bilateral trade. The Sides announced a private sector-led collaboration between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to maintain and update a portal containing standards information for the use of industry, including small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The priority sectors referred to in the statement include smart and sustainable cities; renewable energies, particularly solar power; and water and sanitation. For each of these areas, ANSI and CII will work together to enhance cooperation between U.S. and Indian stakeholders on standards and conformity assessment initiatives - including U.S.-based standards developers and government agencies - whether through workshops, conferences, and training sessions, or other outreach activities.
With respect to smart cities, ANSI has established its Network on Smart and Sustainable Cities, so the Institute is well placed to coordinate efforts to share information and U.S. experiences with India. Solar and other renewable energies are a major priority for India, and many U.S. stakeholders are already engaged in standards and product innovations that can be helpful. And finally, with respect to water and sanitation, ANSI and its members are strongly committed to working with India to develop and implement standards that facilitate increased access to clean water and safe sanitation for Indian citizens.
The portal referred to in the statement is the StandardsPortal website, which provides trade and market access information on a number of economies, including India. With input and support from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), ANSI and CII plan to add more resources to the Portal to help industry find information about the standards and conformity assessment procedures that impact their products. With the trade relationship between our nations growing by leaps and bounds, this is the perfect time to expand this vital resource for everyone's benefit.The complete Joint Statement on the First U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue is available on the State Department website, in addition to other resources about the S&CD.