Group Projects Fivefold Growth In Indo-US Trade

Indo-American trade is poised to grow fivefold from the current $100 billion to $500 billion over the next few years, a Indo-US business body said.
“Trade between the United States and India is poised to grow from $100 billion to the $500 billion in the next few years,” said Mukesh Aghi, president of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) on Wednesday.
USIBC member companies are united in their efforts and actions to build both the Indian and US economies as attractive destinations for investment and to create jobs and opportunities for citizens to grow and prosper, he said.
“To turn this vision into reality, we need a strong foundational relationship between governments and businesses,” Aghi said.
The USIBC hosted a executive committee briefing for the US Ambassador to India Richard Verma.
Seeking Concessions
The US has said it is encouraged by the economic reforms being pursued by the Indian government, and appealed to it to consider taking additional steps towards facilitating trade.
“We have seen a positive recognition from the Indian Government that it can do more to attract foreign investment. We are encouraged by a number of reforms being pursued with respect to taxes, land acquisition and labour,” said US Deputy Chief of Mission Christopher Wilson at the WTO Trade Policy Review of India in Geneva.
“There are encouraging signs that positive trade-specific reforms may be contemplated, including the drafting of the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy and recent public statements by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi calling for a stronger IPR regime,” a statement by the Office of the US Trade Representatives quoted Wilson as saying.
Wilson said the US is pleased that in March, the Indian parliament passed a bill increasing the limit on foreign investment in the insurance sector. And in April, India published its new 5-year foreign trade policy, announcing new programs aimed specifically at implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
“In light of India’s very direct role in shaping the TFA, we look forward to hearing India’s plans to complete timely ratification of the TFA and also to submit its Category A notifications,” he said.
“The US invites India to consider how additional steps to open the country’s trading regime can help India harness the benefits of trade to drive up investment and create jobs,” Wilson said.
These steps would include significant, long-term reductions in agricultural tariffs and removal of unjustifiable SPS and TBT impediments on agricultural imports, both of which can help address food price inflation,” he said.
Defence Agreements
India and the United States have sealed an agreement to jointly develop protective gear for soldiers against biological and chemical warfare, and another on building generators, defence officials said on Wednesday.
The projects were cleared as US Defense Secretary Ash Carter held talks with Indian leaders to expand security ties between countries that were on opposite sides of the Cold War but have since drawn closer against the rising weight of China.
While the two projects approved are modest in scale, India and the United States are also exploring collaboration at the higher end of technology, Carter told reporters.
“We have big ambitions, and jet engines, aircraft carrier technology are big projects that we’re working very hard on,” he said.

Source: Business World

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