India looks forward to rekindle bilateral institutional mechanism to deepen trade engagement with the US: Minister

Trade between India and the US has grown exponentially, but still there is a lot to be desired, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal while speaking at the US-India Business Council Meeting on Wednesday.

“We had set a modest target of half a trillion dollar, which he hoped can be achieved through continuous engagement between the two nations,” Piyush Goyal said.

The Minister said he looks forward to a strong bilateral institutional mechanism for trade, the Trade Policy Forum, and commercial dialogue to deepen this relationship through continuous engagements.

The US offers technology, finance and innovation, whereas India has a large market that needs to be served. He, however, added that at the same time, we need to protect people in agriculture and protect the citizens from low quality products.

Emphasizing at a fair dealing in our engagement, he said that India provides an under-served aspirational market. The minister said that the US will have to be very sensitive to price points in India, which matter to emerging economies with millions of people just coming out of poverty.

The Indian Commerce and Industry Minister invited businesses in the US to look at India as a manufacturing base.

Recounting that India’s reforms in defence, mining, labour and agriculture sector will open up new opportunities for the American companies Goyal mentioned that the Union budget 2020-21 has increased the FDI limit in insurance to 74 per cent.

He said that we are keen to expand on the digital space with the US. He added he would be conscious of our responsibility to the people of India for data privacy. “There are a lot of concerns with the big tech companies, and India would like to protect its policy space.”

Welcoming the new US administration’s re-joining the Paris Agreement he said, “As democracies wanting to give a better future to our people, we have a lot of synergy in our thinking. I am delighted to hear that the new administration has re-joined the Paris Agreement”.

India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu argued that the US-India trade and commerce pillar needs more nurturing while other areas have taken forward. He also highlighted areas such as energy, education, defence, cooperation in combating Covid-19 and climate change as crucial to the India-US bilateral engagement.