By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 15:
Highlighting the exponential growth in the India-US trade relationship, an Indian industry group has told a US commission that American and other foreign firms have tremendously benefited from India’s opening up.
Thanks to its “pro-business policies, India has been consistently rated among the top investment destinations globally by international bodies”, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) told the US International Trade Commission (USITC) Friday.
The bipartisan fact finding body is holding a hearing here on “Trade, Investment, and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the US Economy” at the behest of two Congressional committees.
Presenting CII’s strong and reasoned defence of India’s trade, commercial and investment policies, Pallavi Shroff, senior partner at Amarchand Mangaldas, pointed out that from 2005 to 2013, the total India-US merchandise trade grew from $26.72 billion to $63.70 billion.
CII also pointed out that in the last decade, there has been a substantial liberalisation of the FDI regime in India in several sectors from domestic airlines to retail.
As a result of such pro-business policies, India has been consistently rated among the top investment destinations globally by international bodies including the World Bank, and UNCTAD, Shroff said.
This is further evidenced in the fact that cumulative global FDI inflows to India between 2002-2012 stood at $164.4 billion, of which the US share is pegged at about six percent.
In addition, the fact that countless US companies are experiencing high growth and profitability in India clearly indicated that US companies, like other foreign firms have tremendously benefited from India’s opening up, Shroff said.
Pointing out that the broader strategic partnership between the two countries, goes beyond the merely transactional, CII said revamping interactions through various bilateral forums could lead to constructive conversations, policy prescriptions and follow on action to further boost investor confidence.
Meanwhile, Ron Somers, president of US-India Business Council (USIBC), a trade group comprising 350 top US and Indian companies, said “there are many reasons India should be a top priority for US attention”.
In an op-ed piece in Roll Call, an influential publication focusing on congressional affairs, ahead of his appearance before the panel, Somers said “the new US-India knowledge economy is reshaping the commercial as well as cultural landscape”.
“US and Indian companies have partnered on many of the most important advancements in business efficiency, innovation and expansion – building a knowledge-based economy and helping US businesses lead the way out of the global recession,” he wrote.
“More and more American jobs can be traced to this growing trade and commercial relationship,” Somers wrote.
“We also have strong political and strategic interests in India.”
“As in any relationship, there are squabbles and areas needing improvement,” he wrote suggesting the two nations “dispense with public displays of acrimony over issues that should be worked through”.
“It is imperative we strengthen our partnership with India, forging trust and creating a beacon of hope and freedom that will light the world for decades to come,” he concluded.