US, India ink deal to tap 'limitless' trade potential

Feb 16, 2009
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US, India ink deal to tap 'limitless' trade potential

WASHINGTON — The United States and India launched a new blitz to boost economic, trade and financial cooperation on Wednesday, the latest sign of deepening ties between the two economic giants. They signed a framework for cooperation on trade and investment in Washington Wednesday to build on trade growth, which has more than doubled in the last five years, ahead of the launch of an economic and financial partnership in New Delhi next month.

"There is almost limitless potential for growth in trade between our two countries, and that can contribute to economic recovery and job creation in the United States and continued economic growth in India," said Ron Kirk, the top US trade official."We can realize that potential by working together toward the goals set forth in the framework agreement," by encourage technological innovation, increasing agriculture, services, and industrial goods, and boosting investment flows, he said.

Kirk, the US Trade Representative, inked the trade and investment pact with Indian minister of commerce and industry Anand Sharma. "Both governments have agreed to elevate the partnership between the United States and India to a higher level," Sharma said.

The "numerous synergies linking the economies have not been tapped fully as yet, he said, adding that the pact could "create the right environment to ensure that the relationship brings maximum benefit to the maximum number of people."
The development and deployment of clean energy and environmental technologies would also be encouraged under the agreement to support India?s infrastructure growth, Sharma said.

US goods and services trade with India totaled 66 billion dollars in 2008. India was the 17th largest goods export market for the US in the same year.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will travel to India on April 6-7 to launch the US-India Economic and Financial Partnership in New Delhi with Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Under the partnership that will focus on macroeconomic policy, the financial sector and infrastructure financing, meetings will be held at the cabinet level, alternately in the United States and India, led by Geithner and Mukherjee, US Treasury officials have said.

The partnership was first announced in November when President Barack Obama hosted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the first state visit since he entered the White House in January.

The United States already has a standing dialogue with fellow emerging Asian giant China.
Officials said that unlike the dialogue with China, which is multi-ministerial, the forum with India was focused purely on economic and financial regulatory policy, led by the US Treasury and the Indian finance ministry.

The United States and India signed a landmark nuclear deal in 2008 which allows New Delhi to enter civilian nuclear energy markets for the first time in decades despite its nuclear weapons arsenal.

The nuclear agreement was a milestone in relations between the world's two largest democracies, which had inconsistent ties during the Cold War when India was non-aligned and sometimes tilted toward the Soviet Union.
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