At the fourth U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, the United States and India reaffirmed that economic collaboration between both governments and private sectors is a keystone of our deepening partnership. Business ties have led the way in achieving a nearly fivefold increase in bilateral trade since 2000. Annual two-way trade is approaching $100 billion, while total two-way foreign direct investment is nearing $30 billion. These developments are drivers of innovation, economic growth, and job creation for both of our nations.
Working Together on Shared Economic Priorities
The United States and India have resolved to facilitate even greater economic benefits by engaging in robust bilateral economic discussions, working to facilitate greater trade and investment in each others’ economies, and discussing opportunities and challenges our industries face. Our numerous bilateral interactions complement our engagement in multilateral fora such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Our bilateral economic cooperation includes:
Economic and Financial Partnership
Since 2010, the United States and India have engaged in an Economic and Financial Partnership (EFP) to deepen U.S.-India engagement in core economic policy areas. Annual ministerial meetings led by the U.S. Treasury Secretary and the Indian Minister of Finance, and additional discussions at the subcabinet level, have focused on macroeconomic policy, G-20 topics of mutual interest, financial sector development, infrastructure finance, anti-money laundering, and combating the financing of terrorism. The EFP meetings have featured participation of our central banks and financial sector regulators. Under the dialogue, Indian economic officials have engaged with U.S. officials and market participants in areas of relevance to India, such as attracting private investment into infrastructure financing, and government debt issuance.
Bilateral Investment Treaty Negotiations
The United States and India have engaged in bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations since 2008, with the last round held in June 2012. A high-standard BIT would deepen the bilateral economic relationship and support economic growth and job creation in both countries. Both sides look to working together to move forward on negotiations.
Since 2000, the Commercial Dialogue facilitates discussions on key economic topics such as standards for smart grids and intelligent transportation systems, public awareness programs on Intellectual Property Rights, sustainable manufacturing practices, and support for small and medium enterprises.
Trade Policy Forum
The Trade Policy Forum (TPF) enables the United States and India to engage on a wide range of policy issues impacting bilateral trade and investment. As part of an ongoing commitment to strengthen this dialogue, both governments plan to renew expert-level discussions on trade and investment policy issues of interest to the two countries. These discussions are intended to lay the necessary groundwork for the next ministerial-level TPF meeting later this year. The TPF’s Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG), composed of U.S. and Indian private sector leaders, plans to provide input to both governments.
Aviation Cooperation Program
Under the U.S.-India Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP), the U.S. Trade and Development Agency will sponsor the fourth India – U.S. Aviation Summit in October 2013. This Summit and the many technical cooperation projects under the ACP enable engagement between the United States and India in important aspects of aviation safety, technology, and management, facilitating ties between U.S. and Indian aviation sectors.
Information and Communication Technology Working Group
Through the Information and Communication Technology Working Group (ICTWG), U.S. and Indian officials work to promote collaboration and partnerships in a sector that is at the forefront of innovation. The ICTWG will meet in Washington later this year to discuss cooperation on equipment security, manufacturing incentives, cloud computing, and enhanced cooperation in ICT-related innovations. The meetings will be held in conjunction with the private sector to present issues in the context of public-private partnership.
Increased cooperation between the U.S. Antitrust Agencies and Indian Competition Agencies helps ensure that markets are open and competitive. In September 2012, the U.S. Antitrust Agencies (Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)) and the Indian Competition Agencies (Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Competition Commission of India (CCI)) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Antitrust Cooperation. Under the MOU, all agencies plan to keep each other informed of significant competition policy and enforcement developments in their jurisdictions. The MOU sets out a framework for technical cooperation and consultation on competition policy and enforcement. Since July 2010, the U.S. Agencies have conducted a dozen week-long training programs for the CCI on antitrust topics including mergers, abuse of dominance/monopolization, and economic analysis; and they have provided comments and guidance on Indian competition policy. Both sides look forward to additional training programs and staff exchanges – including placement of an FTC economist at the CCI in August 2013, a possible International Fellowship at the FTC for a CCI staff member under the U.S. SAFE WEB Act, and participation by senior officials in the third BRICS International Competition Conference hosted by the CCI in New Delhi, November 20-22, 2013.
U.S.-India CEO Forum
The U.S.-India CEO Forum is a unique gathering of CEOs and senior government officials from both countries that enables a forthright conversation about immediate policy issues that are impeding greater trade and investment between our two countries. The Forum also provides an avenue for both sides to identify ways that public-private collaboration could fill gaps in the market that neither would, nor could pursue alone. The CEO Forum has facilitated new collaborative initiatives in key areas such as infrastructure financing, aviation, clean drinking water, and renewable energy. At its next meeting on July 12, 2013 in Washington, it intends to further develop joint initiatives and priorities, and discuss ways to overcome business challenges.
State-to-State & City Engagement
Over the past year, economic ties at the state and city levels have grown. Several highlights include:
American Business Corners
The new American Business Corners initiative is facilitating economic engagement with India’s booming urban centers and strengthening U.S.-India business connections by providing Indian entrepreneurs information about trade and investment opportunities with the United States. To date, the U.S. Commercial Service has opened 12 American Business Corners in India from Chandigarh to Thiruvananthapuram and from Surat to Guwahati.