US urged to support India's inclusion in APEC forum

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As new government has taken charge in India, the Obama Administration has an opportunity to revitalize its economic ties with India by the latter's inclusion in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, a top American think-tank has said.

A new Policy Innovation Memorandum, authored by Alyssa Ayres of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) explains that economic ties between the two countries have soured, and remain well below potential.

India has been waiting nearly twenty years to join APEC, and further delay "is both a strategic and tactical mistake," she noted.

An India within APEC would likely ameliorate some concerns about US-India economic ties today, asserted Ayers, who served in the South and Central Asia Bureau of the State Department for several year, before joining CFR.

Entry would also affect India's commitments to free and open trade, and build confidence for considering Indian membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, she said.

Including Asia's second-fastest growing economy, "a colossus in its own right," far outweighs any potential losses.

Without India, the forum cannot represent the Asia-Pacific economy, Ayres said.

In her policy paper, Ayers argued that an India within APEC-responsible for upholding its commitments-would likely ameliorate some of the market-access concerns troubling US-India economic ties.

APEC's technical groups, which align with several of the areas of US-India friction, hold expert-level consultations within the multilateral framework.

With its "green goods" goal, APEC's energy working group promotes eliminating barriers in clean energy trade and services, such as the removal of local content requirements, a live issue between the United States and India, she said.

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