India, US eye five-fold increase in commerce

India, US eye five-fold increase in commerceWASHINGTON: Eyeing to increase two-way commerce by five times from the current level of USD 100 billion, India and the US have vowed to expeditiously address all trade and investment policy issues to remove obstacles and improve business environment in both countries.

In this context, the two sides, after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama, expressed their commitment to concluding a high-standard Bilateral Investment Treaty that will foster openness to investment, transparency and predictability, thereby supporting economic growth and job creation in both countries.

They also agreed to consider establishing a Joint Committee on Investment in Manufacturing.

“Noting that two-way trade has increased five-fold since 2001 to nearly USD 100 billion, President Obama and Prime Minister Singh agreed that there are no insurmountable impediments to bilateral trade increasing an additional five-fold,” a joint statement issued after the talks said.

“The leaders welcomed progress towards increased engagement by experts from both governments, underlining the need for expeditious progress to address all trade and investment policy issues of bilateral concern so as to remove obstacles and improve the business environment in both countries,” it said.

The statement said that Obama expressed confidence that the ongoing Indian economic reforms and policy measures to liberalize India’s economy would accelerate economic growth, opening greater avenues for trade and creating jobs in both countries.

In this respect, the leaders recognized in particular the role and contribution of the Indian and US Information Technology industry and the IT enabled service industry in strengthening India-US trade and investment relations, the statement said.

The leaders also committed their officials to work toward a successful outcome at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Bali.

Obama and Singh emphasized the dangers that high oil prices can pose to the global economy and the need to increase oil market transparency and emergency response collaboration, through closer coordination and bilateral dialogue.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his American counterpart Jacob Lew would hold the next round of India-US economic dialogue in Washington on October 13, an official announcement said.

“Lew looks forward to being joined by Chairman Bernanke to engage with Indian Finance Minister Chidambaram and (RBI) Governor (Raghuram) Rajan on the major macroeconomic and financial sector issues affecting our two economies,” Lael Brainard, the Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs, told PTI.

Lew will participate in the fourth annual meeting of the US-India Economic and Financial Partnership with Chidambaram at the Department of Treasury.

The Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would also participate in the meeting.

“In this fourth meeting of the Partnership, the Secretary (Lew) will be pressing strongly on priorities of interest to our private sector, including tax issues, and deepening collaboration on combating illicit financial activity that will make both of our economies more secure,” Brainard said.

The US-India Economic and Financial Partnership has served as a platform for greater cooperation on economic issues of importance to both nations.

Both countries recognize the importance of expanding bilateral economic engagement, noting the increasing range of global macroeconomic and financial issues, including those related to illicit finance, on which the US and India cooperate. -PTI

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