Millennium Post

Modi and Obama target $500-bn billateral trade

After two days of talks focused on ways to reinvigorate the US-India relationship through economic, energy and security cooperation, the two sides agreed on $1 billion of concessional financial from the US Export-Import Bank for India's renewable energy development agency.

The two leaders, who met for the first time, agreed on boosting two-way trade to $500 billion from $100 billion. However, no deadline was set for reaching that goal.

‘President Obama and Prime Minister Modi recognised that US and Indian businesses have a critical role to play in sustainable, inclusive, and job-led growth and development,’ a joint statement issued after the meeting said.

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.

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),’ it said.

India will welcome two trade missions in 2015 focused on meeting its infrastructure needs with US technology and services.  The two leaders discussed their concerns over the current impasse (including on 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.

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

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