Indo-US trade can touch $500bn in 10 years: USIBC

The US-India Business Council (USIBC) today said that bilateral trade between India and the US could touch USD 500-billion mark over the next one decade.

Mumbai: The US-India Business Council (USIBC) today said that bilateral trade between India and the US could touch USD 500-billion mark over the next one decade.

"From USD 25 billion in 2006, the Indo-US trade has sniffed at USD 100 billion last year, while defence trade alone touched USD 10 billion in the past one decade.

"Going by the massive fillip in bilateral trade in recent years, I am hopeful that the two-way trade between the largest and the third largest economies in purchasing power parity terms (US and India respectively), achieving our next target of USD500 billion over the next one decade is possible if both the partners chart out a larger strategy of engagement," USIBC Chairman Ajay Banga said here.

Banga, who is also the president and CEO of MasterCard, was talking to reporters along with USIBC President Ron Somers and CII president Adi Godrej after a USIBC-CII leadership summit.

Banga further said that bilateral trade should focus on energy, defence, education and medical care among others while investments should be encouraged in technology and creation of intellectual properties.

Godrej said that there was recognition in the US about the role India can play in the years to come. The increasing involvement of industry members highlights the fact that our business communities can reach higher heights through strategic co-operation and collaboration.

On the USD500-billion two-way trade target, he said "it can be achieved if both the sides commit against protectionism, create enabling frameworks such as the bilateral investment treaty, recognise the value of labour mobility, focus on enhancing services trade, focus on investments and value addition, and definitely get down to industry-level and state level co-operation."

USIBC President Ron Somers said, the council has engaged Pearson Institute to conduct a feasibility study on an economic cooperation arrangement between the two nations, while USIBC is doing a study on sewing up an Indo-US comprehensive economic cooperation agreement.

Banga, while welcoming the reform measures by the government in the recent past, said the American industry was advocating for raising FDI caps in defence from 26 per cent to 74 per cent, and said the bigger chunk of this USD 500 billion trade could come from high tech and defence trade.

He also said the US industry was in favour of a bilateral investment teary between the two nations to create a more level playing field, incentivizing greater two-way FDI flows.

Somers also said defence was one of the crucial sectors of business engagement between the two countries and suggested that the bilateral trade have more involvement of the private sector for deepening the partnership.

According to Godrej, shale gas and oil where American companies have made tremendous strides, could be a particular area of business co-operation between the two nations.