World Economy

India-US Trade Crosses $100b, Can Reach $500b

India-US Trade Crosses $100b, Can Reach $500bIndia-US Trade Crosses $100b, Can Reach $500b

The India-US bilateral trade in goods and services has crossed the elusive $100 billion threshold and now stands at $103 billion, US envoy Richard Verma said in Washington on Saturday, adding that both countries still have a long way to reach the $500 billion goal.

Addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Verma said the goal of $500 billion is achievable, IANS reported.

Both sides have restarted the Trade Policy Forum, “which is bringing together Indian and American trade experts to address concerns across a variety of sectors”, he said.

On intellectual property, a technical team of Indian experts will visit Washington for further discussions on how to improve IP protection. “We continue to look for ways to enhance the environment for innovation in a way that promotes our shared interests,” he said.

He said through the US State Department’s Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor (IPEC) initiative, “we are also supporting greater regional economic connectivity between India and its neighbors, complimenting Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Act East’ policy”.

“Through programs aimed at enhancing energy cooperation, building closer people-to-people ties, stimulating trade facilitation and transportation and easing customs and borders, IPEC seeks to strengthen links among South Asian countries and with Southeast Asia,” he said.

 India on the Move

He said under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy “India has been on the move. In the past year the prime minister has reached out not just to the United States, but has visited over 18 countries and 33 cities.

“He is signaling that India will be a player on the global stage for years to come and we welcome and support that global leadership role – politically, economically and in global institutions”. He said India and the US are “partnering more closely than ever before”.

“We are tracking 77 different initiatives that came out of the January Obama-Modi Summit, in fields that range from defense cooperation to health and renewable energy. Our collaboration is broad-based and global in nature,” he said.

 Working Together

In India, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar signed a 10-year defense framework agreement recently, highlighting the growth of defense cooperation between the two countries.

Carter who was on a 10-day trip focused on the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.

The agreement signed in India in June was an outgrowth of a meeting that was held between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January.

Out of that meeting grew the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative. The idea is for India and the United States to work closely together to develop military capabilities both can use.

The June agreement included plans to cooperate in developing a mobile solar energy power source that could be used in remote areas and in developing a lightweight protective suit effective in chemical and biological hazard environments.