Indian states-US investors dialogue can boost bilateral trade: Jaitley
New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) Indian states are growing at around 10-11 per cent and a dialogue between them and American investors can help in boosting Indo-US bilateral trade, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.
Jaitley said this at a meeting here with US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Director of the US National Economic Council Jeffrey Zients, ahead of the second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue due to take place here on Tuesday, according to a Finance Ministry release here.
Pritzker said the trade dialogue by the Chief Ministers of Indian states with different US authorities can be given a structured shape in order to give impetus to the bilateral trade, the statement said.
She also welcomed the approval to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill and hoped that this will boost the economic activities in the country at large, it added.
In what is likely to be the last major engagement between India and the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Pritzker will co-chair the second edition of the dialogue from the American side, while India will be represented by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The last round of S&CD was held in Washington in September last year.
India-US bilateral trade has crossed the $100 billion level in 2015 — up from $37 billion in 2005.
US investment in India last year crossed $28 billion and Indian investment in the US reached more than $11 billion.
During her India visit, the US Commerce Secretary will meet Indian entrepreneurs and participate in an event celebrating US-India cooperation on travel and tourism. India and the US have decided to be Travel and Tourism Partner Countries in 2017.
“The engagement is likely to cover the discussion between Indian and US CEOs in the forenoon of 30th August,” a Commerce Ministry release here said.
“In line with the CEO Forum recommendations to boost the renewable energy sector, both sides are working on the US-India Energy Finance Initiatives, which is expected to mobilise up to $400 million by 2020,” it added.
At the CEOs Forum, both sides will review the progress made on deliberations such as boosting renewable energy and defence ties and smart city projects.
The two sides are also likely to discuss innovation and entrepreneurship and various other policies and measures to further trade ties between both the countries.
Chairman of Tata Group Cyrus Mistry will co-chair the meeting from the Indian side, and Dave Cote, Chairman of Honeywell International, from the US side.
“The discussions are expected to take place regarding smart city master planning activities for three cities — Ajmer, Allahabad and Vizag — for which an MoU has been signed between India and the US,” the Indian Commerce Ministry said.
At the strategic dialogue, India is also expected to lobby once again with the US to garner the support of all member countries for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which will allow it to trade in nuclear material and technology.
Harmonisation of product standards will be one of the major India-US joint policy objectives, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said at a separate roundtable event here on Monday, organised by the industry body in partnership with Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
“Indian industry needs to adapt to meet increasingly stringent standards to boost its export competitiveness, or we will be left behind in the global trade race,” Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, said.
“Standards are going to be the new norm in bilateral trade,” Alok Chaturvedi, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, said.
India-US two-way trade reached $109 billion in 2015. India was among the top 10 growing sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the US in 2015, reaching $11.5 billion.