India, US must boost bilateral trade to $500 billion: Piyush Goyal

PTI Mumbai | Updated on September 20, 2019

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. File Photo   -  PTI

Says imports as well as exports between the largest and the oldest democracies in the world

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s American visit, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said India and the United States (US) should aim to increase bilateral trade to $500 billion from the under $150 billion.

Goyal also said that both the governments are working on “hiccups” which have impacted the ties in the past, and seeking to strengthen the relationship.

The Commerce Minister’s remarks come a day ahead of Modi’s American visit, where he is going to address a joint event with US President Donald Trump.

Trade ties between the two countries have been mixed in the immediate past, with Trump frequently flagging concerns over aspects such as import duties. The Trump administration has also capped H1-B visas at lower levels to protect domestic jobs, reducing the number of Indian techies going to the US.

“We can have significant ramp-up of the Indo-US engagement bilaterally. India should not look at anything less than $500 billion trade with the US. that is the kind of target we should look at,” Goyal said, speaking at an Indo American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) event here.

“Let’s look at a very ambitious trade target, and once we look at an ambitious trade target, I am sure things will start falling in place,” Goyal said, acknowledging the help of the Trump administration in deepening the ties.

In May this year, the IACC had said that there is a possibility to take the Indo-US trade to USD 500 billion by FY24 from the present $142 billion. Goyal did not specify the timeline by which he wants the bilateral trade to touch $500 billion.

‘Respect, mutuality, trust and bonhomie in the ties’

Goyal said imports as well as exports between the largest and the oldest democracies in the world have grown in the recent past, which should comfort stakeholders on either side.

The minister said he is also in touch with the US trade office and also many trade bodies to strengthen the ties.

“We are all working collectively to solve some of the hiccups that we have had in the past and strengthen this relationship,” he said.

He said there are a slew of sectors in which enhanced trade ties are possible, which include innovation, robotics, industrial manufacturing, electric vehicles, and, defence and aerospace.

“There will be a lot of respect, mutuality, trust and bonhomie in the ties from here,” Goyal added.

Citing the case of New Jersey, which is signing pacts with Gujarat and Telangana, Goyal also welcomed the developing state-to-state ties.

Speaking about the diaspora, the commerce minister said Indian companies can use the 3.5 million of Indian origin in the US as a good consumer base to push our exports of items like jewellery.

He also said that the various boards under his ministry, which focused to increase the usage of coffee, tea, spices etc can alone net $100 billion per year through selling Indian goods to the diaspora spread across the world.

Goyal quipped that Indians love their paneer tikka, chicken masala, dal etc wherever they go and urged the industry to tap into this opportunity.

Published on September 20, 2019

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