India-US trade to touch $60 bn: diplomat

May 21st, 2008 - 11:39 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, May 21 (IANS) Bilateral India-US trade will touch $60 billion in the coming years, a senior American diplomat said here Wednesday. “Just a couple of years back, the volume of bilateral trade was only $20 billion. But we are expecting to increase this to $60 billion in next few years,” US Consul General Henry V. Jardine told reporters during an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

“Earlier, the US investors had focused on petro-chemicals, IT and financial services, engineering and infrastructure. But with a recent agreement signed between India and the US, other areas like agro-business and science and technology will now offer opportunities,” he added.

According to Jardine, West Bengal needed investments in infrastructure like multi-lane highways, flyovers, bridges, ports and airports.

“Another area which needs to be addressed immediately is environmental pollution,” he said.

Jardine pointed out that the India-US strategic relationship has also been expanded with their air forces participating in a joint exercise at the Kalaikunda airbase in 2005 and the Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal in 2007 that saw the participation of the Indian, US, Australian, Japanese and Singaporean navies.

He said the demand for US visas was rapidly increasing. It had reached over 700,000 cases, with projections to soon be around one million per year.

Jardine said the Kolkata chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce (ACC), launched in 2006, would also work to enhance the commercial relationship between the two countries.

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