GST, economic reforms will boost trade with India: US

US commerce secretary Penny Pritzker?said travel and tourism and sub-national engagement were two areas that were in focus for increasing commercial cooperation between the two countries in 2017. Photograph:( Getty )

Washington, DC, United States Aug 28, 2016, 04.56 PM (IST)
Financial reforms like GST will further improve bilateral trade with India, the United States said on Sunday.  

Trade between the two countries is at $109 billion, but business climate remained an area of concern for the US. 

US commerce secretary Penny Pritzker is in India for three days starting Monday. She said travel and tourism and sub-national engagement were two areas that were in focus for increasing commercial cooperation between the two countries in 2017. The focus will be on Chennai and Charleston instead on India and US. 

Pritzker said the Obama Administration has made significant progress toward what could be the largest commercial relationships in the world. 

"Our two countries enjoy a thriving trade and investment relationship. US-India bilateral trade reached $109 billion in 2015, up from $37 billion in 2005. 

"US and Indian companies are also investing in each other's economies at record levels. In 2015, US investment in India reached more than $28 billion and Indian investment in the United States reached more than $11 billion. In fact, US affiliates of Indian-owned firms now employ more than 52,000 workers in the US," Pritzker told PTI. 

The national bankruptcy law and liberalised foreign direct investment limit in key sectors indicated a deeper economic relationship in the years ahead, she said. 

The increasing number of travellers between the US and India was a significant commercial opportunity, she added. More than 1 million travel between the two countries each year. 

On sub-national engagement, Pritzker said: "Both US and Indian states play a vital role in driving economic growth and setting business climate policy. Companies choose to invest in Charleston, South Carolina or Chennai just as much as they select the US and India." 

Pritzker, who has been the US Secretary of Commerce for over three years and is a key member of President Barack Obama's economic team, will be travelling to India for the second US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the US-India CEO Forum. 

During the visit, she 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. 

She said an open economy is in the best interest of India, the US and the world and reforms will benefit businesses and allow for more seamless integration of both Indian and American products into global supply chains. 

"The US government is committed to working with the Government of India through the US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and other bilateral fora to address these concerns," she added. 

She added: "It is true that we have more work to do. India is only the United States? 10th largest trading partner and 18th largest export market. In addition, India represents only 1.8 percent of US exports and only 2.5 percent of US imports. For economies our size, we can to do much better." 

Pritzker will co-chair the Dialogue with US secretary of state John Kerry, India's minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj, and minister of commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman.  

(WION with inputs from PTI)