Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
India-US trade may reach $500 bn over 10 years: Goyal
NEW DELHI: India and the US can reach trade deals of a much larger scale at a faster pace, and aim for a target of $500 billion in bilateral trade over the next 10 years from the existing $160 billion, commerce minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.
The US and India have agreed to enter into negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Goyal said at a business conference, hours after President Donald Trump said trade negotiators of the two countries had made “tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement” and he was “optimistic” about a deal.
“Whatever will be done, will be done for the best interest of the stakeholders in both the countries,” Goyal said.
Releasing a report on a $500 Billion Roadmap in the evening, Goyal said India and the US were engaged in a “true spirit of friendship” and “to my mind this ($500 billion in bilateral trade) is certainly achievable”.
The report, jointly prepared by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the US-India Business Council (USIBC), highlighted three possible scenarios in which the target can be attained—by 2030, 2035 and 2052.
The “Soaring” scenario assumes positive policy and regulatory moves and a significant increase in trade engagement, bringing bilateral trade growth to 11.8% and reaching the $500 billion mark by 2030. Under the “Chugging” scenario, the bilateral trade relationship and key drivers of economic growth largely remain unchanged at a 7.9% growth rate, making the target attainable by 2035.
The “Limping” scenario assumes a deterioration in the India-US trade relationship with bilateral trade growing at an annual pace of 3.9% over the next several decades to cross the $500 billion mark in 2052.
Goyal said he is confident of achieving the target fast because the two countries talk to each other as equals and have a commonality of purpose.
In a chat at the US-India Forum: Partners for Growth conference, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), industry secretary Guruprasad
Mohapatra stressed the need to increase bilateral trade between the two countries to $500 billion without mentioning any timeline. According to the $500 Billion Roadmap, trade tensions between the US and China could be an opportune occasion for a major fillip to India-US trade ties. Many American companies are actively exploring alternative investment destinations to relocate manufacturing supply chains and India could be a competitive destination.
The report listed interventions in 13 specific areas which, if resolved, will provide a significant thrust to trade between the two countries by turning challenges into opportunities.
At a separate session on the energy partnership, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan spoke about increasing energy imports from the US.