Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

India-US trade may reach $500 bn over 10 years: Goyal

- Rajeev Jayaswal rajeev.jayaswal@htlive.com

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.

 ?? PTI FILE ?? Commerce minister Piyush Goyal
PTI FILE Commerce minister Piyush Goyal

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