Indo-US bilateral trade expected to cross $100 bn this year
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, Powell, who will be the first woman US ambassador to India, said that the export to India is well on its mark to achieve the goal of the US President Barack Obama to double in five years.
"We have made unprecedented progress in expanding our economic relations with India. Our bilateral goods and services trade will top USD 100 billion in 2012.
"This represents an astounding quadrupling of trade since 2000, moving India up from our 25th largest trading partner to our 12th," Powell said.
She said that bolstering trade and investment would be one of her top priorities while she is in New Delhi as the top American diplomat.
"I look forward to working with a wide inter-agency team and with our Indian counterparts to reduce barriers, including through negotiation of a Bilateral Investment Treaty, and to expand the areas where we do business," she said.
"I am eager to support the efforts to ensure full implementation of the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, including ensuring a level playing field for American companies in the commercial applications of nuclear energy," she said in her remarks.
Powell said the US Mission in India actively seeks opportunities to keep and create jobs in America.
"In response to the President's National Export Initiative, the US Mission promotes the export of US products, services and technologies, supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the United States," she said.
India, with its population of 1.2 billion population and large and balanced consumer economy, represents a huge, fast growing market for US manufactured goods, and our exports are growing at over 17 per cent a year.
"At this rate, exports from the United States to India are expected to nearly double in the five years from 2009 to 2014," Powell said.
The Ambassador-designate said that if she is confirmed for the coveted post, she would also work on expanding defence co-operation with India.
Noting that the US defence sales to India reached nearly USD 8 billion last year and India holds more military exercises with the United States than any other country, she said that as stated in the National Security Strategy, the US sees India as a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific region.
"As India continues to modernise its armed forces, there are additional opportunities for us to expand our cooperation across all the services and at all levels," Powell said.
In his opening remarks, Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, also emphasised on expanding economic ties between the two countries.