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U.S. Upgrades Trade Dialogue with India

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The United States and India upgraded their trade and economic dialogue this week and announced a number of initiatives designed to increase bilateral cooperation in these areas. The new developments came during a visit to India by President Obama and other senior administration officials.

One key change is an expansion of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, which will become the U.S.-India Strategic & Commercial Dialogue. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said that “the new commercial element of our most important bilateral dialogue will focus on our shared priorities of growing our economies, creating good jobs, and strengthening our middle class.” She added that the S&CD will be used to “produce concrete results” and to ensure that businesses of all sizes “are in a position to capitalize on abundant opportunities that exist in both of our countries.” The dialogue will also be used to promote more bilateral trade and investment and identify new opportunities for economic and commercial cooperation.

As part of his visit President Obama participated in the U.S.-India Business Summit, which discussed the business and investment climate in India. Specific topics of discussion included U.S. companies’ need for “consistency and clarity in the regulatory and tax environment in India,” a DOC press release states, as well as ways in which U.S. companies could improve India’s infrastructure. The two sides also signed a declaration of friendship that calls on their trade ministers to work together toward strengthening commercial and economic ties to advance mutual prosperity, regional economic growth and stability.

In remarks to the summit the president noted that two-way trade has grown by about 60 percent in recent years to a record high of nearly $100 billion annually. However, he also noted the opportunities for further growth, pointing out that only a little more than one percent of U.S. exports go to India and that only about two percent of total U.S. imports come from India. Toward the goal of increasing these figures the two sides announced the following.

- new breakthroughs that will advance full implementation of a bilateral agreement on civil nuclear trade

- a new technology and trade initiative that will allow Indian and U.S. companies to jointly develop and produce new defense technologies

- an agreement to resume discussions on a bilateral investment treaty

- the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. will commit up to $1 billion in financing over the next two years to support exports of U.S.-made goods to India

- the Overseas Private Investment Corporation will support lending to small and medium-sized businesses across India that could ultimately result in more than $1 billion in loans

- the U.S. Trade and Development Agency will aim to leverage nearly $2 billion in investments in renewable energy in India

- India will establish a new government committee dedicated to expediting U.S. investment in India

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