Modi, Obama vow to raise Indo-US trade five-fold to $500 billion

01 Oct 2014


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama have pledged to deepen Indo-US economic cooperation and set up a joint programme to boost business investment, targeting a five-fold jump in Indo-US trade to $500 billion.

Noting that two-way trade has increased five-fold since 2001 to nearly $100 billion, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi committed to facilitate actions necessary to increase bilateral trade five-fold. However, they have set no deadline for reaching that goal.

The two leaders noted that the US and Indian businesses have a critical role to play in sustainable, inclusive, and job-led growth and development.

They also agreed to establish an Infrastructure Collaboration Platform convened by the ministry of finance and the department of commerce to enhance participation of US companies in infrastructure projects in India.

''In this context, the US government welcomes India`s offer for US industry to be the lead partner in developing smart cities in Ajmer (Rajasthan), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh),'' the two leaders said in a joint statement.

The two leaders established a contact group on advancing the implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear energy cooperation in order to realise early their shared goal of delivering electricity from US-built nuclear power plants in India.

They looked forward to advancing the dialogue to discuss all implementation issues, including but not limited to administrative issues, liability, technical issues, and licensing to facilitate the establishment of nuclear parks, including power plants with Westinghouse and GE-Hitachi technology.

India will also host two trade missions in 2015 focused on meeting India's infrastructure needs with US technology and services.

After two days of talks, Washington also agreed to provide $1 billion in concessional finance from the US Export-Import Bank for India's renewable energy development agency.

In order to raise investment by institutional investors and corporate entities, the leaders decided to establish an Indo-US Investment Initiative led by India's ministry of finance and US Department of Treasury, with special focus on capital market development and financing of infrastructure.

The two leaders discussed their concerns over the current impasse (including the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes) in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its effect on the multilateral trading system.

They "directed their officials to consult urgently along with other WTO members on the next steps," the joint statement said.

The two sides committed to work through the Trade Policy Forum to promote a business environment attractive for companies to invest and manufacture in India and in the United States.

The two leaders committed to hold public-private discussions in early 2015 under the Commercial Dialogue on new areas of cooperation, including innovation in advanced manufacturing.

In order to share best practices in manufacturing and work toward greater harmonisation of standards, the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership programme will start a dialogue with Indian counterparts. The two countries plan to work expeditiously through several joint initiatives to facilitate greater confidence in cross-border trade and investment.

Obama welcomed Modi's ambitious plan to extend basic financial services to all its citizens through the Jan Dhan Yojana.

"The President and Prime Minister underlined the important contribution that US locomotive technology, equipment to monitor rail system assets, and US best practices can play in modernising India's vast railway network, including accessing programmes of US Trade and Development Agency in this work," the statement said.

Agreeing on the need to foster innovation in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation, the leaders committed to establish an annual high-level Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group with appropriate decision-making and technical-level meetings as part of the Trade Policy Forum.

They recognised in particular the contribution of the Indian and US Information Technology industry and the IT-enabled service industry in strengthening India-US trade and investment relations.

Modi and Obama said they looked forward to the annual US-India Economic and Financial Partnership meeting in early 2015.

They also welcomed the expansion of partnership to oversight of financial institutions, including between Reserve Bank of India and the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency.

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