American envoy : India and US need each other economically

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015,11:52 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | India and the US need each other economically and the two countries should help power global economic growth and create economic opportunities and jobs, American Ambassador to India Richard Verma has said. India and the US need each other economically, he said speaking at the Brookings Institute, a top US think-tank.

We both need to help power global economic growth; we rely on the collaborative science, exploration, and innovation that will bring new discoveries for our people; and we both need to create economic opportunities and jobs for our people, he said in his remarks.

Verma said that in the last decade the two countries have made dramatic progress in virtually every category of cooperation and the statistics are compelling. In 2005, the two-way trade numbers were around USD 30 billion. Today, they stand at USD 104 billion, and the two countries are aiming to get that number up to USD 500 billion.

In just the last three months, bilateral trade increased by well over USD 5 billion with the conclusion of Boeings USD 3.3 billion Apache/Chinook deal and the USD 2.6 billion GE agreement to provide Indias vast railway network with next-generation locomotives, many of which will be made and assembled in India, the Ambassador said.

As against 30,000 Indian students studying in the US this year, the number of Indian students increased by almost 30 per cent over last year to more than 132,000. The growth in Indian students was greater than from any other country, and India is second only to China in the number of students currently in the United States, he said.

The same goes for visitors in 2005, we had close to 400,000 Indians visiting the US. This year was the highest. We processed over 1 million visa applications. Our Mission in India processes more H and L employment visas than anywhere in the world.Last year, Indians received 69 per cent of H and 30 per cent of L visas issued worldwide, he said. Cumulative Indian foreign direct investment in the US totalled USD 7.8 billion in 2014.

The US foreign direct investment into India was USD 28 billion, he said. An increasing number of Indian-owned firms contribute to US jobs, exports, and growth, he added. Ongoing government actions to facilitate trade in both directions and open new sectors to private investment will continue to accelerate not only economic growth and development, but also increase prosperity for the citizens of both the countries, the Ambassador said.

While weve achieved a strong, solid record of performance, our leaders believe we can do more, and I know we can do much more, Verma said. Thats why we are redoubling our efforts to increase two-way trade, taking on the ‘ease of doing business’ factors that tend to deter US companies and investors, such as tax and legal uncertainty and easing the regulatory burden, he said.

To accelerate progress on these issues, we included these commercial topics at our Strategic and Commercial Dialogue this past fall.We also eagerly await India’s updated draft of its bilateral investment treaty text, and its new intellectual property policy, both of which could help spur increased investment, trade and technology transfer, he said.