India-US trade can reach $320 bn by 2018: CII

June 21st, 2009 - 6:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) Bilateral trade between India and the US can reach $320 billion by 2018, an eight-time increase from $42 billion in 2007-08, says a report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“Given the right conditions, merchandise trade could rise to $320 billion by 2018,” said the report, “India-US Economic Relations: The Next Decade”, released by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma in New York.

The report said US investment in India went up to $9 billion in 2007 from 2000, and Indian investment in the US had similarly risen, to stand at $3.7 billion.

According to CII, the nuclear agreement reached between the two countries also marks the beginning of a new era in bilateral relationship and opens up various trade avenues like nuclear energy.

“India intends to import 24 reactors in the next 11-15 years, and could create as many as 20,000 new jobs directly and indirectly in the US from nuclear trade,” the report said.

CII said although the US has been India’s largest partner in trade, investment and technology, the two countries had to work towards strengthening commercial ties.

The new vision for economic engagement must shift from high-technology trade to frontier technology, trade in goods and services, and investments in infrastructure, it added.

In the services sectors, bilateral trade stood at around $20 billion in 2007, the two countries accounting for the volume almost equally, it noted.

While visa restrictions and partial openings of sectors can be a barrier to trade, there are areas such as tourism, logistics, healthcare, entertainment and telecom where trade can be significantly stepped up, CII said.

The chamber also addressed the issue of cooperation on renewable energy and climate change, and expanding partnership in the sectors such as agriculture, science and technology, intellectual property rights, cyber security and higher education.

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