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Media Quote Susan Esserman on Indian Prime Minister Modi’s Visit to US

October 8, 2014

Steptoe partner Susan Esserman, who previously served as deputy US trade representative, appeared on the BBC and was quoted in several publications regarding the recent visit to the United States by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The four-day visit was Mr. Modi’s first to the US since his landslide win in May.

During his visit, Mr. Modi met with US business leaders, who are looking at India with renewed interest as the Indian prime minister has promised to slash red tape and spur growth.

"There is a great deal of excitement that the economic relationship is going to be very different than it has been in the past.  It is really groundbreaking," Ms. Esserman told the BBC.  (Her comments can be viewed in the video link at the top of the page.)

Speaking to Politico Pro, Ms. Esserman addressed India’s decision in late July to block implementation of the World Trade Organization’s new Trade Facilitation Agreement.  The move was an attempt to reopen a food security deal, also reached last year in Bali, to win more favorable terms.

“This is the first time I have seen India not follow through on a firm WTO commitment it has made.  This raises a question about how India views its roles in the international trading system, how it approaches international agreements, how it sees its roles in broader Asia trade, and how it sees trade liberalization fit with its economic vision.”

Ms. Esserman was also quoted by the Indian media outlets NDTV and ZeeNews.

Ms. Esserman’s comments followed her participation in a panel discussion held September 18 at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) that previewed Mr. Modi’s visit using three key parameters:  security relations, trade relations, and the role of the diaspora.  The full discussion can be viewed at CSIS.