‘India-US economic ties will continue to flourish under Obama’

November 10th, 2008 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) Economic relations between the US and India will continue to thrive under the new administration led by Barack Obama, a top US commerce official said here Monday.”That fact that the president-elect (Obama) in his statements has mentioned India as an important and strategic country, speaks for itself,” US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Israel Hernandez told reporters.

“I cannot speak for them, but I will say that for moving forward in the 21st century, relations with growing countries like India are crucial,” he added.

Asked about Obama’s protectionist stance on outsourcing during the election campaign, Hernandez refused to comment, but noted that “the last thing we will do is to retreat from the world”.

Hernandez is here in India with a team of 13 small and medium firms’ representatives on a trade mission. They will travel to different Indian cities.

The US team visits India at a crucial time when the US and several other countries are going through a financial crisis. “We are going into recession. The only bright sector right now is exports which continue to grow,” he said.

Many economists have noted that even amid this financial turmoil, there would be pockets of growth in India, China and the Middle East, the official said.

“We are adjusting, while India is growing. So, there is a lot of interest among American companies to come here,” Hernandez said, adding that India would still face some challenges in the areas of intellectual property, data protection and infrastructure.

Last year, India-US bilateral trade was $42 billion, which is growing at 20 percent.

“There will be moments of highs and lows in our economic relations. Even though our economy is going through contractions, we have taken steps like the $700-billion package,” said Hernandez.

He said while India was one of the US’ top 20 trading nations, “we would like it to grow to top 10″.

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