Mumbai, March 14: With the Indo-US trade now touching around $100 billion, charting out a larger strategy of engagement will help achieve the next target of $500 billion, a top industry official said here Thursday.
“Achieving the next target of $500 billion entails charting out a larger strategy of engagement, in which both sides commit against protectionism and create enabling frameworks,” said Adi Godrej, president, Confederation of Indian Industry, while addressing a joint Leadership Exclusive Session with the US India Business Council (USIBC).
Godrej said that in addition to enabling frameworks such as a bilateral investment treaty, the two sides should recognise the value of labour mobility, focus on enhancing services trade, investments and value addition and get down to industry-level and state-level cooperation.
“There is recognition of the role India can play in the years to come, which is evident from the growing array of focussed and sector-specific official dialogues initiated by both the countries in the recent past, such as in higher education and energy,” Godrej said.
Increasing involvement of industry members in these platforms highlights the fact that our business communities can reach higher heights through strategic cooperation and collaboration.
USIBC Chairman Ajay Banga said the Indian government’s decision to open up multi-brand retail to foreign direct investment (FDI) of up to 51 percent and lifting of FDI caps on single brand retail from 51 to 100 percent “is a welcome step and an assurance to investors” of India’s commitment to establishing a business-friendly climate.
Now, the US industry was advocating raising India’s FDI caps in defence from 26 percent to 74 percent and was in favour of a bilateral investment treaty to create a more level playing field and incentivising greater two-way FDI flows, Banga said.
USIBC President Ron Somers said defence was one of the crucial sectors of business engagements between India and the US.
Appreciating that India was on the verge of passing the insurance bill, Somers suggested that bilateral trade should have more involvement of the private sector for deepening the partnership.