A top American business advocacy group has said that it is working to support plans to promote a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
During an ongoing meeting with stakeholders of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), the US India Business Council (USIBC) also focused on building resilient supply chains for the biopharmaceutical sector as well as for critical minerals essential to the energy transition, a media release here said.
The framework is being hosted by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Delhi from February 8 to 11.
On Thursday, the USIBC said that it is working to support plans to promote a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
The Indo-Pacific is a biogeographic region, comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
The US, India and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the resource-rich region.
Ahead of the stakeholder discussions, USIBC convened an industry roundtable with a visiting US Congressional Staff Delegation where participants discussed various aspects of IPEF.
Industry representatives offered assessments of their respective sectors and gave insights into the challenges and opportunities posed by the regulatory landscape in India.
Commending the discussions, USIBC president Atul Keshap said that getting standards right will facilitate the trade and investment flows between the US, India, and other partners that will drive growth and lift millions in the region out of poverty.
On biopharmaceuticals, USIBC emphasised how geographic diversity in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for patented medicines makes the supply chain for these drugs resilient. It urged that efforts be taken to similarly diversify the API sourcing for generic drugs, a sector where India is a world leader.
It also expressed support for major public investments in Indian API manufacturing to diversify the generic supply chain and reduce reliance on China.
China is the world's largest producer and exporter of APIs and many Indian companies depend on imports of the ingredients to produce various formulations.
On critical minerals, USIBC called for the expansion of mining and processing capacity in India and other IPEF nations in order to support its energy transition ambitions and energy security, pointing out that the adoption of clean energy technologies by India and other nations will necessitate increased production of lithium, copper, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and other rare earth, a media release said.
USIBC highlighted that IPEF nations collectively have impressive reserves of these minerals, and urged the rapid creation of a secure supply chain for critical minerals as a top priority for the IPEF.
On the digital economy, USIBC emphasised the role that the shared commitment not to tax or tariff data flows has played in facilitating the rise of India as a global digital services hub and in the growth of the overall digital economy.
It called for the IPEF to reaffirm the e-commerce moratorium a WTO prohibition on customs duties on electronic transmissions to ensure the continued growth of the many industry sectors that rely on digital services.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.
China and its diplomats have been attacking the Indo-Pacific concept from the beginning claiming that it is aimed at containing Beijing.
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