Trade between India and the US is estimated to have jumped substantially from $118 billion in 2016 to $140 billion in 2017, according to an advocacy group that aims to promote bilateral trade.

In 2016, India was the ninth largest trading partner of the US and one of the major countries with which America has had a trade deficit of more than $30 billion. This is expected to continue in 2017 as well, an issue which has repeatedly been raised by President Donald Trump and his top officials in their interaction with their Indian counterpart.

“We estimate that in 2017 India’s trade (with the US) has gone up from $118 billion (the previous year) to $140,” Mukesh Aghi, President of the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), told PTI in an interview.

Official figures of annual bilateral trade are yet to come, but the USISPF estimates are based on its own research and surveys.

India, Aghi said, has proactively started working on addressing the issue of trade deficit with India. “India roughly has a thousand plane orders with US companies. That will start bringing trade imbalance in the right direction. India had last year bought $2 billion worth of energy from the US. India spends roughly $80 billion acquiring energy. And I think a lot of that will start moving to the US,” he said.

“I think next five years, you will see a little more balance in the trade between two countries,” Aghi said.

India and the US have set a goal of increasing the bilateral trade to $500 billion a year. “I think it (bilateral trade) is moving,” he said. Overall, the relationship between India and the US is moving in a right direction.